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Ford-era buildings topic at BC Commissioners meeting
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Richmond Hill Convention and Visitors Bureau director Christy Sherman told the Bryan County Commissioners at their June 11 meeting in Richmond Hill that they were the caretakers of one of the most prominent Ford-era buildings in South Bryan County.

     "I understand there may be some renovations in the future for the courthouse annex. I'm also joined by ourrent Richmond Hill Historical Society President Paige Murphy Glazer and past president Sarah Volker. You are keepers of a very important Henry Ford building. The courthouse building was built in 1939 by Henry Ford. I have been involved in restoring another Ford building. Throughout that process I learned a lot about historic preservation," she said.

     The CVB director told the commissioners that she learned through the process of restoring the Henry Ford Bakery the importance of sticking to historically correct renovation techniques and not turning historic buildings into modern looking building by using improper renovation methods and materials.

    "I'm not a expert and I'm not a preservationist, but I'd like to help when the restoration begins in any way I can," Sherman said.

    The county is doing an energy inventory of every building it owns and looking to update some aspects to make the buildings more energy efficient.

    Sherman said that was laudable but wanted the commissioners to know that energy efficiency and proper historic renovation techniques are not mutually exclusive.

    The commissioners agreed and said they would be happy to have her expertise on the issue when renovation begins.

    Commissioner Brad Brookshire was honored at the meeting for receiving his certified commissioner status from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia. He was presented a plaque from the ACCG by commission chairman Carter Infinger.

    "This is a long process to become certified. Congratulations to Commissioner Brookshire," the chairman said.

    A borrow pit mining operation on Fort McAllister Road on property owned by the Meeks family brought out droves of nearby residents opposed to the location of the entrance, the number of daily dump truck trips and the years necessary (up to five years according to the developer's engineer) to complete the mining process.

    After the pit is completely dug, it will become a lake and amenity for nearby homeowners. The dirt dug from the pit will be used for other construction projects.

    Planning director Amanda Clement told the commissioners that the applicant had tried to address the concerns by decreasing the size of the borrow pit from 23 to 10 acres and limiting the site traffic to between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

    John Meeks told the commissioners he was aware of the concerns and had talked to many of his neighbors to ensure them the family would continue to be "good stewards" of the land.

    Another public hearing speaker said the borrow entrance was .2 miles between two blind curves on the road and that could be dangerous to traffic already on Fort McAllister Road, which is likely to get heavier with the tourist season here.

    After some discussion, the commissioners voted to approve the conditional use to allow a borrow pit to be mined on the property. They put conditions on the hours, including number of truckloads daily and Commissioner Steve Myers suggested a sign could be placed on the road to warm travelers that trucks were coming in and out of the property.

    Other actions included:

    * Allocating $5,000 each to the Atlantic Judicial Drug Court and the Atlantic Judicial Veterans Treatment Court form Drug Education and Treatment funds.

    * Approving a conditional use request, with conditions, from Hubert Quiller, to allow a memorial garden and columbarium at 7446 Highway 17. A church is also located on the property.

      * Allocating $91,886 toward the relocation of power lines and underground placement at the Belfast Keller and Belfast River Road Roundabout.    

    * Approving a request from Charles Way to amend the Lenox Planned United Development, part of Buckhead East, with conditions. The amendment will include a 4.7 acre commercial tract, reduction from 92 to 86 residential units in this phase and the addition of a 2.5 acre tract for recreational use.

    * Appointing Betty Rosenthal to the Bryan County Library Board.

    * Appointing Pam Gunter, Gary Stanberry, Doyce Mullis, Gene Wallace and Sean Wallace to the Bryan County Public Facilities Authority.

    * Appointing Robert Whitmarsh to serve on the LVAP Advisory Committee.

    * Approving the rezoning of 10 acres from A5 to AR 1.5 to allow a maximum of six lots located on Bryan Fisherman's Co-op Road.

    * Approving the rezoning of 3.22 acres on Bill Futch Road from A.5 to B.1, the first step to allow for the possible future use of a restoration facility.

    * Reappointing Sean Register to continue serving on the Coastal Regional Commission Council.

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