In Tuesday nights regular bi-monthly meeting of the Statesboro City Council on January 17, 2023 the council chambers were standing room only with citizens. The majority of the citizens were opposed to the annexation of 41 acres of land. The land is owned by the Franklin and Rocker families located behind Bel-Air subdivision which the Franklin and Rocker families developed. After over an hour of discussion and multiple citizens speaking against and in favor of the project the City voted to approve the annexation.

Read more about the discussion in the story below.

Recognition/Public Presentations:

A) Presentation of a retirement award to Allan Washington (Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator) who is retiring effective February 1, 2023, after 32 years of service.

Allan Washington with City Council Credit: Grice Connect
Allan Washington with co-workers Credit: Grice Connect
Allan Washington with relative Maurice Hill Credit: Grice Connect

B) Presentation of an award to the City of Statesboro for the Georgia Initiative for
Community Housing received from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs

City Planning Department, DSDA and Habitat members with City Council Credit: Grice Connect

Consent Agenda

Consent agenda approved

A) Approval of Minutes
a) 12-20-2022 Work Session Minutes
b) 12-20-2022 Council Minutes
c) 12-20-2022 Executive Session Minutes

B) Consideration of a motion to approve Resolution 2023-01: A Resolution to fix and
publish qualifying fees for the City of Statesboro November 7, 2023 General

  • General Election will be held November 7, 2023 for Districts 2, 3 and 5
  • Qualifying fee is set at 3% of annual salary for the office which is $227.00

Public Hearing

APPROVED: Public Hearing and Consideration of a Motion to Approve: APPLICATION RZ 22-10-03: Domenic Spencer requests a Zoning Map Amendment from the R15/HOC (SingleFamily Residential/Highway Oriented Commercial) zoning districts to the R-4 (HighDensity Residential) zoning district at 506 W Miller Street. This would be 168 low to moderate income housing units.

C.J. Chance with Hussey, Gay and Bell addressed questions from the council regarding the project. The developer spoke in favor of request.

No one spoke against the request.

APPROVED: Public Hearing and Consideration of a Motion to Approve: APPLICATION AN 22-12-01: Lehman Franklin requests Annexation of a property adjacent to Beasley Road in order to develop a single-family attached subdivision on approximately 41 acres.

A large number of citizens came to the council meeting to oppose the annexation.

Speaking on behalf of the annexation were Joey Maxwell of Maxwell-Reddick Engineering and Lamar Smith the developer. Robbie Franklin one of the property owners was in attendance but did not speak.

Speaking against the annexation first was former Bulloch County Commission Chair Raybon Anderson who has lived for 55 years on the adjoining property. “We do not oppose our friends asking for development of this property. But we do oppose what they are proposing. Four homeowners are within 50 feet of this project.”

Speaking against the annexation was Susan Riley lives across from this project. “What they proposed is a six fold density increase in this property. Over 200 rental homes. Their neighborhood is opposed to rental property. The public safety is a concern as well.”

Speaking against the annexation Sara Thompson came to petition and hold the council accountable regarding life, liberty and property concerns. She recited from the Georgia constitution and challenged the councils power to act on annexation and their transparency as a government body.

Speaking for the annexation was Marcus Toole. He told that council that if we were talking about bulldozing down black areas of town there would not be an issue and none of the people in the room would be here. “Local governments are under enormous pressure to zone away from high density housing. If they are successful in blocking low density housing what will happen to housing for low and middle income people will be spectacular. Low income folks do not have the political wherewithal to defend themselves.”

Bo Davis spoke against the project. “Why would we annex property when 3/4 a mile down the road there is property annexed in ready to build.”

A petition with 50 names were presented to the city clerk against the annexation.

APPROVED: Public Hearing and Consideration of a Motion to Approve: APPLICATION SE 22-12-03: Branchwater Statesboro LLC, requests a Special Exception in order to allow for an automobile service operator on property zoned CR (Commercial Retail) on US Highway 80 East.

Steve Rushing spoke in favor of the project on behalf of the developer. The developer has signed a contract to purchase the property for development. The developer has high interest in the property including national restaurant chains. Texas Roadhouse and Popeye’s have expressed interest in the property. This special exception is needed for a Valvoline Quick Oil Change shop.

APPROVED: Public Hearing and Consideration of a Motion to Approve: APPLICATION RZ 22-12-04: CFN Rentals requests a Zoning Map Amendment in order to amend a PUD (Planned Unit Development), and add an additional unit on a property located at Grove Circle/Stockyard Road.

Joey Maxwell with Maxwell-Reddick Engineering answered questions from council about the project.

APPROVED: Public Hearing and First Reading of Ordinance 2023-01: An Ordinance amending Section 2-85 of the Statesboro Code of Ordinances regarding membership of the Statesboro Business Commission.

APPROVED: Consideration of a motion to approve Resolution 2023-02: A resolution authorizing the Mayor to execute a Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Lighting Agreement for the South Main/Fair Road Roundabout Project.

APPROVED: Consideration of a motion to approve the acceptance of a recently awarded grant from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (CJCC) in the amount of $5000 for the purchase of Naloxone (Narcan).

APPROVED: Consideration of a motion to approve a Water/Sewer Agreement for HS Bulloch Holdings LLC for 39.05 acres located at 712 Elmer Phillips Drive, and fronting HWY 67 (Tax Parcel Numbers 093 000036 000 and 108 000018 000).

APPROVED: Consideration of a motion to approve Task Order #7 of Stormwater Master Planning in the amount of $131,250.00 with Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood (GMC) for stream restoration engineering services. This project will be paid by Section 319(h) grant funds and Stormwater Utility operating revenue funds.

APPROVED: Consideration of a motion to approve purchase of a new CAT D3 LGP Dozer for the Public Works and Engineering Department, Streets Division in the amount of $202,602.00 from Yancey Bros. via Sourcewell Contract. Funding will be from the 2019 SPLOST Fund.

City Managers Comments

  • The State of the City is set for February 28, 2023
  • Invited SCVB to the next work session to discuss what they do and the hotel motel tax

Public Comments

Statesboro citizen Marcus Toole gave a shout out to public works. He also recognized Justin Williams in the Planning Department who is a great asset to the city and for his work on the community housing issues that the city received the award for tonight. Encouraged the city to continue to allow high density housing throughout the city. Otherwise low income neighborhoods will become targets for high density housing.

Executive Session

City Council went into Executive Session to discuss a real estate matter. No action was taken.

Full Council agenda with supporting documents

Live Stream of the meeting

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...