Butts County zoning change vote could help tornado victims rebuild
JACKSON, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Tornado warnings like those issues Monday morning for several Georgia counties were not what residents in Butts County wanted to hear. They’re still dealing with the cleanup from tornadoes that destroyed dozens of homes back in January.
While they still have a long road to recovery, there could be some much-needed relief on the way thanks to a proposed zoning change.
It’s a day Tonia Dalton and her mother Joanne Mathis will never forget. A Thursday afternoon in mid-January, tornadoes ripped through several counties, including Butts County, carving out a path of destruction.
“I don’t look at a tornado warning the same way,” said Tonia Dalton.
A 5-year-old in Butts County was the first confirmed death during the severe weather that impacted north Georgia on Jan. 12. The victim was identified as Egan Jeffcoat. The National Weather Service surveyed the damage and confirmed that at least two separate tornadoes touched down in Butts County.
More than 400 utility poles were broken in a county of 25,000 people, according to officials.
Ten weeks later and with multiple dumpsters full of debris, Dalton is hopeful her mother can rebuild on the same property off Cherokee Drive she’s called home for the past 55 years.
“We are trying to actively get her back here depending on zoning changes,” said Dalton.
RELATED: Gov. Brian Kemp confirms an EF3 tornado touched down in Georgia
The Butts County Board of Commissioners will vote Monday on whether to allow homes like Joanne Mathis’ to be rebuilt. The current ordinance prohibits newly installed, single-wide mobile homes.
“The BOC will take action tonight on the ordinance change to allow engineered homes back on non-conforming lots that were destroyed by the storms,” said Brad Johnson, Butts County Manager.
Mathis, who just turned 70 earlier this month, is on a fixed income. She received some FEMA funding and a GoFundMe set up by her daughter is helping too, but it’s not enough for her to build bigger.
“This is all she knows. My grandparents used to live in a house right next door to here. She’s got all those memories. I’m in the neighborhood, my other sisters are in the neighborhood,” said Dalton.
The Board of Commissioners meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday. Dalton says she plans to be at the meeting to find out the outcome.
- ACTIVE: Watches and Warnings
- RELATED: School districts closing, delaying start Monday due to inclement weather
- RELATED: FIRST ALERT WEATHER DAY | Flash flooding remains possible through your morning commute
- PHOTOS: Severe weather causes damage across North Georgia
- Severe weather causes significant damage in West Point
- LIVE UPDATES: Flooding rain, risk of strong storms continue in GA
- Home Depot Foundation to help Griffin community hit by tornado on Jan. 12
- Community Teen Coalition to help communities hit by tornado
- Spalding County opens volunteer, donated goods center after devastating storm
- NWS confirms EF3 tornado touched down in Spalding County Thursday
- As tornado damage mounts, it’s unclear how much aid could come from state, feds
- What to do before and after filing an insurance claim following storm damage
- Officials warn of contractor scams after tornado damages parts of Georgia
- Griffin man partially paralyzed after tree hits home
- Community rallies to help Griffin middle schoolers return home
- At least 7 dead as severe winds, tornadoes hammer US South
- Strong storms blow roofs off LaGrange homes, damage properties
- Cleanup effort begins in Cobb County after storms ravage businesses and homes
- Troup County officials give updates on tornado damage, recovery efforts
- First Alert: Busy start to what will be an active Sunday across North Georgia
Copyright 2023 WANF. All rights reserved.