Houston Commission wants rewrite of proposed contract for Ga. 96 upkeep

PERRY -- Houston County commissioners are sending a contract for the upkeep of Ga. 96 back to the Georgia Department of Transportation for a rewrite.

“It needs to be scrubbed, rubbed and sent back,” said Chairman Tommy Stalnaker.

The commissioners addressed the item during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday at the Houston County Courthouse in Perry. They also voted on seven special exception applications, one of which will move an AT&T cell phone tower and another that drew opposition from neighbors.

In July, the state transportation department sent the county a standard contract for the mowing and maintenance of the sidewalks and right-of-way of Ga. 96 from the Houston and Peach county line to Old Hawkinsville Road.

Commissioners said they have concerns about the logistics detailed in the contract, including liability issues and cost. The contract is for services after the widening of Ga. 96 is completed.

Commissioner Gail Robinson pointed out the proposed contract shows a date of May 2011, which means the document is likely a standard contract sent to any county in a similar situation.

“This contract is a department contract,” Stalnaker said. “We need a contract that’s a county contract and a department contract.”

The first part of Tuesday’s three-hour meeting concentrated on seven special exception applications, most of which were for home businesses.

Among the approved applications was an exception to allow a 300-foot AT&T cell phone tower on an Elko Road residential property. Haskell Slaughter, who represented Crown Castle, a company that provides wireless infrastructure, said the owner of the current tower’s location has chosen not to renew a contract with AT&T.

Crown Castle will erect the new tower, which is 280 feet from the current tower, Slaughter said. Once services are rerouted to the new tower, the old tower will be removed, he said. Cell phone service will not be interrupted.

The item with the most opposition surrounded a Houston County resident in the Weatherby Plantation neighborhood who wanted to use his home as an office for his locksmith business.

The county Board of Zoning Appeals recommended denying the application, but commissioners voted unanimously to accept it with the provision business owner Stacy Boudreaux not post signage on the house or physical property

Neighbors who spoke in opposition said they didn’t want their neighborhood riddled with signs because it’s not commercial property.

Other approved home businesses included an online administrative service and a soap manufacturing business. A local attorney was denied to operate out of his home.

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.