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Barrow to consider entering deal to help Oconee with fires

WINDER - Barrow and Oconee County Fire Departments might answer certain calls together, if commissioners approve a proposed automatic aid agreement with the two entities.

Oconee County Fire Department, an all-volunteer department with 140 firefighters, entered a similar agreement with Walton County in 2004. Under the agreement's terms, a one to two mile boundary line would be set up within both Barrow and Oconee counties. If a structural fire broke out within that line, both fire departments would automatically respond.

Barrow County firefighters respond to fires in other counties when the local department asks for their help.

The agreement would apply to structural fires only and neither department would hold the other liable in case of an accident or injury.

"It would benefit both counties," said Oconee County Fire Chief Bruce Thaxton. "It allows us to get together and work on fire scenes together and when something big comes on the scene, we've already been together on different incidents."

Barrow County Fire and Emergency Services has 80 firefighters. Lt. Scott Dakin, spokesman for BCFES, said he's pretty sure Barrow County has not entered an automatic aid agreement with neighboring counties.

The motion has not yet been voted on by Oconee County's Board of Commissioners, Thaxton said.

"The agreement is very effective in protecting our citizens and firefighters of Barrow County," Interim Fire Chief Jimmy Terrell said.

Rezonings

Barrow County Commissioners will vote to either approve or deny the following rezonings:

•From manufacturing to residential, 5.31 acres at Patrick Mill Road and Industrial Parkway. According to the rezoning application, the manufacturing zoning was an error committed when the property was rezoned in 2005. The acreage was included in the development's site plan, but was not included in the original application. Developers intend for the acreage to be part of a 104-acre mixed-use development of single-family homes, quadraplexes, triplexes and a recreational area.

•From agricultural zoning to residential, 80 acres at Ga. Highway 211, Freeman Johnson Road and Lee Street for the purpose of constructing a master-planned development. Barrow County's Future Land Use Map shows the area as parks/conservation/recreation. Barrow County's Planning Department recommends approval of the project. Plans show a mixed-use development of 235 units.

•From manufacturing to commercial, 1.5 acres at 681 Bankhead Highway to allow the owner to lease part of the property as a commercial venue. The Factory Door Outlet currently operates out of the location. The premises was once a chicken plant. Barrow County's Future Land Use Map shows the area as suitable for industrial uses.