Social Circle swearing in

Municipal Court Judge Robbie Ballard, right, administers the oath of office to Mayor pro tempore Traysa Price, left, as Councilman Nathan Boyd, center, looks on before taking his oath.

Municipal Court Judge Robbie Ballard administered the oath of office to Social Circle City Councilwoman Traysa Price and Councilman Nathan Boyd on Monday during an organizational meeting in the community room on East Hightower Trail.

Price won reelection to City Council over opponent Adolphus Gaither. She has served on the council for the last 16 years and was again chosen by the council to serve as mayor pro tempore.

Boyd was elected to a full term in November. He was appointed to fill the previously vacant seat on council in May 2021. He has served as chairman for the Social Circle Main Street Commission and is pastor of Church at the Grove in Social Circle.

Following the swearing in ceremony, the Social Circle City Council reappointed Susan Clark as city clerk. The council also reappointed the law firm of Powell & Edwards, P.C., as its city attorneys.

The council then adjourned the meeting and entered a work session to review an update to the city’s land use map and discuss other items.

Mark Beatty, a senior community planner with the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, presented a draft of the city’s future land use map.

Beatty told council members he wanted to ensure the proposed map was representative of the vision city leaders have for Social Circle, especially in light of electric automaker Rivian’s plans to build a large plant on the nearly 2,000-acre East Atlanta Megasite that straddles Morgan and Walton counties. A portion of the plant site lies in Social Circle. The two counties plus Jasper and Newton counties invested in the Joint Development Authority that owns the plant site.

Construction is expected to begin this summer, with production starting in 2024. The plant is expected to create 7,500 jobs and could produce 450,000 vehicles a year.

Beatty said both Social Circle and Walton County utilize character areas in their land use maps. Character areas denote specific districts, such as a historic district or transportation corridor. He said Walton County characterizes some of the area outside Social Circle city limits that lies in the county as agricultural/rural residential on the county’s proposed map.

Mayor David Keener said it is hard to predict the future. Keener commented that in addition to Rivian’s planned factory build, a lithium-ion battery recycling startup company Battery Resourcers plans to open a commercial-scale battery recycling plant in nearby Covington. The company plans to invest $43 million into the facility, which is expected to generate 150 jobs in Newton County and be the largest of it kind in North America. Social Circle lies in both Walton and Newton counties.

Council members briefly discussed one particular property that could possibly be designated as a transitional area for retail commercial use between residential and industrial areas. City Manager Eric Taylor also advised council members to consider potential uses of areas, such as if they would want to consider allowing hotels and retail near Interstate 20.

The council also discussed making reappointments and appointments of individuals to numerous city boards, like the Main Street and Historic Preservation commissions, Library and Tree boards and Downtown Development Authority. Keener suggested the City Council make some appointments at their next regular meeting on Tuesday, and continue the process in February.

Council members commented board members’ attendance should ideally be around 80%, and reasons for excused absences from meetings should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

“Our boards are valuable to us and we rely on them to give us the information we need,” Keener said.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.