County Commissioner Ken Smith was recognized Tuesday at his last county commission meeting for his 12 years on the board.
“I have enjoyed very much working with Ken in the time that I’ve been here,” said County Commission Chairman Ricky Wolfe. “And I’ve found him to be a great person to work with.”
Smith began serving on the County Commission on Jan. 1, 2001, and will officially end his run Dec. 31 after he decided not to run for a fourth term. Wolfe said that when he was elected as chairman in 2006, many people said that Wolfe, a Democrat, and the more conservative Smith wouldn’t be able to work together.
“Well, that couldn’t be any further from the truth,” Wolfe said. “We’ve had a lot of discussions and a lot of debates, but in dealing with him there are a couple of things that I always admired. One, he always did his homework. When we had an issue to vote on, he had touched base with the people that elected him and he had studied issues. Secondly, when he made his mind up, his mind was made up. … There’s no wishy-washy with him.”
Wolfe said he enjoyed working with Smith and that the commissioners would miss him. He presented Smith a plaque thanking him for his 12 years of service on the commission.
Smith thanked the voters of District 3 for electing him to the board three times. He also thanked Troup County workers for their efforts.
“There’s not a better group of people in county government than there is in Troup County,” Smith said. “For 12 years, I’ve been dealing with counties in the state of Georgia, and I’ll put our workers, our people, up against anybody’s. They do more for less than anyone in the state of Georgia.”
Smith said in 12 years, whenever he called on county workers for help on a project, they always were ready, willing and available to help. He said his success was through the efforts of county workers, and those that entrusted commissioners to be good stewards of their money and voted in special-purpose, local-option sales tax projects to help pay for projects.
“I want to thank the people of Troup County, and thank my fellow commissioners,” Smith said. “It’s been a good run and they’ve been a good group to work with.”
In business Tuesday, commissioners approved a special-use permit for The River’s Bend Winery and Vineyard at 692 Adams Road, owned by Donald Hughes, to host special events. The events, like weddings, showers and birthdays, would be limited to three per month, between the hours of noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday with no more than 75 people, including staff.
Residents of Adams Road opposed the move. Reid Wallis, speaking for neighbors, said 11 of 13 Adams Road residents opposed the move and asked how the terms limiting hours, guests and number of events would be policed.
Wallis said residents didn’t oppose the winery and it hosting events for wine tastings, but felt the special events would add to traffic problems on the road.
“It’s not the number of people going to the winery, it’s the number of automobiles people bring to the winery that will be a problem,” Wallis said. “And I’m not sure how anybody’s going to know if they have 75 people, 100 people or 10 people. Only Mr. Hughes knows that.”
Commissioner Morris Jones asked Wallis how many residents were close enough to the winery to actually see it. Wallis said there were three, including himself.
Jones said that the commission has the power to pull the permit if it sees fit, and has done so before. He added that he felt the conditions of the events wouldn’t contribute to traffic problems attributed to out-of-town commuters who work at the Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia site using the road as a shortcut.