COVINGTON — Newton County Commissioners held a work session Thursday to discuss a proposed purchasing policy and proposed zoning regulations for go-kart facilities.
Dan Moore of Atlanta Gran Prix Karting is proposing a go-kart track off I-20 in west Newton. There is currently no documentation on file with the Department of Development Services stating the location of the property, and Moore has in the past declined to release that information. But the current ordinance excludes tracks for motorsports from allowed uses under commercial outdoor recreation facilities.
As a result of the amendment, there is currently no use in the ordinance that a go-kart track would fit under. Drafting of an ordinance amendment is currently taking place. The discussion Thursday mostly centered around buffer requirements. Commissioners said they preferred a 75-foot buffer from residentially zoned property, with no principal buildings or structures located within 25 feet of any property line.
Commissioners also said they would support any future applications on a case-by-case basis regarding fencing requirements. One provision in the draft ordinance that would have required opaque fencing along the entire property could be cost prohibitive, they agreed. The ordinance amendment is expected to be on the agenda for the regular meeting Tuesday night, set for 7 p.m. at the Newton County Historic Courthouse.
Also discussed Tuesday will be an updated purchasing policy.
One change to the purchasing policy is a provision that would allow for preference to be given to local vendors who bid on a project. If a local vendor is within 5 percent of the low bid, that vendor will have the option of matching the low bid price. That way, “you still get the competitive pricing there that you would to start with,” said County Manager John Middleton.
Preference to local vendors could be given on purchases and contracts of up to $100,000, or $20,000 for transportation projects.
“This is probably one of the bigger changes to our policy that we’ve not had in the past,” said Middleton. “I think it’s important to us as a county to recognize our businesses and give them the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.”
The policy also sets a threshold of $50,000 and over for when purchases of capital goods and supplies must be approved by the Board of Commissioners. For contracts for service, the threshold is $5,000 and over.