Continued Frustration Over Late Payments For Bethel


February 7, 2019

The Bethel Acres Board of Trustees convened Feb. 4 in front of a large assembly of onlookers, many of whom were attending the meeting in order to obtain permits of some kind.

Indeed, discussions concerning these permits took up the majority of the meeting. Three families in the Bethel Acres area applied for building permits – two for properties on Gober Lane and one for a project on Limberlost Road. Scott Ledbetter was the first to face the trustees, and the motion to approve his project was unanimously approved.

The permit for John Jenkins and family was also approved, but after some initial confusion and discussion concerning the ordinances involving recreational vehicles on land designated for building. The Jenkins have been staying on the property they plan to build on in an RV, which was questioned by Trustee Karen Jones. After deliberation, the trustees deemed that the permit was still acceptable as long as the RV did not represent a permanent living situation, and the Jenkins motion passed unanimously.

Jennifer Geren applied to the trustees not only for a building permit, but also for an Exception Application. After the plans were reviewed and deemed appropriate, the building permit was accepted and passed unanimously. The exception was approved, but only on the condition that a bond issue is taken care of concerning the application. A similar bond issue was discussed in relation to an exception renewal by Jon and Heather Burgess, but since the initial application took place before the bond issue was put into effect, their renewal was approved.

The last item on the meeting agenda pertaining to permits involved Jarret Davis, who sought a Peddler's Permit for his Eagle Scout concessions. Jarret is the son of Neal Davis, oil and gas manager for the trustees, and local clubs and businesses can sponsor the concession stand in order to fundraise. Davis' permit was unanimously approved.

Over the past few months, the monthly oil and gas report has proven to be a source of frustration to the Bethel trustees, and February's meeting was more of the same. Neal Davis again brought news of late payments by Abundance Energy, preventing the board from approving wells which are technically in compliance. In contrast, a producer well by Proven Reserve was up to date and approved by the board. Davis also noted that while water well testing had been completed at OSU, he needed more time to analyze the results and was not ready to bring specific recommendations to the board. Davis' report indicates that on the whole, there are no concerns with the water.

The monthly report from the police department was positive, as there were no arrests made in the month of January. Fire Chief Rusty Tucker introduced two new members of the fire department: Moses Butts will join the department as a fire fighter, and Keith Carpenter will begin work as the department chaplain. Tucker also stressed the importance of fire safety during the coming months.

"If you haven't noticed, grass fire season is starting," he said.

Trustees grappled with the issue of marijuana late in the meeting, when debating whether a local growing operation on Drummond would need to obtain a business license. The question came down, essentially, to whether the growing project would be classified as an agricultural endeavor or a legitimate business. After extensive discussion and the consulting of city attorney Breeann Gordon, it was determined that no action would be taken towards the operation getting a license, since it does not operate a physical storefront.

During new business at the tail end of the meeting, a growing concern was brought to the attention of the trustees that the tag agency in Bethel Acres would be shut down – presumably, it was assumed, because the state didn't see a continued need for it. The trustees discussed various possibilities if this scenario came to pass, noting that many of the citizens of Bethel Acres would have difficulty in getting to other tag agencies. This was ample cause for the board to attempt to prevent the closure, though Mayor Jake Clanin noted they didn't know where to begin.

"This would be a pretty easy thing to fight," Davis said, who had served as mayor previously.

City attorney Gordon promised to put out feelers regarding the issue and see what was to be done, bringing options to the board at the next meeting, which will be held March 4.


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