Commission votes on funeral home zoning

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

LaGRANGE –  The Troup County Commission voted 3 to 1 Tuesday to deny a zoning change for a property on Hamilton Road, near Hayes Road, from agricultural to commercial.

The denial was issued due to safety and health concerns that the proposed business could potentially cause.

Commissioners reviewed the request to rezone 5015 Hamilton Road on Tuesday, so that the landowner could build a funeral home on the property, but after a review of the factors surrounding the location the commission voted against allowing a funeral home to open for a series of reasons.

According to Senior Building Official Jay Anderson, the county coroner expressed concern for having a funeral home at that location because of the septic system needs of a funeral home which might be better suited for somewhere with sewer access or more room for a larger septic tank then the 2.5-acre lot would allow. The board of zoning opposed the rezoning due to future land use plans for the area and traffic concerns.

There were also concerns with the proposed funeral home having enough room to operate and provide parking once the required 50-foot buffer was installed between the business and residentially-zoned properties. Still, the applicant argued that the addition of the funeral home would be an improvement for the county.

“Since I had the land, and it (the funeral home) is for use for the public, and it would benefit the neighborhood or benefit the county – the whole county – and I know it would be an excess to the need for the county, so I decided that I would try it,” said Jesse Haynes, an Atlanta resident who owns the property.

Residents who live near the proposed development strongly differed from Haynes’ view of the property, however.

“We are not in favor of this being turned into commercial property in any way shape or form,” said Philip Robinson, who lives on the property next door to the proposed funeral home. “One of the big concerns would be – after it has been rezoned as commercial – if the funeral home were to fall through then it is still left open to being just about anything it wants to be. … When we moved here, we were interested in living out in the county, and to have a business that close to the property – that we are working fairly hard to keep up – we just don’ think that would fit in properly with the surrounding area.”

Robinson’s wife and her family own the property surrounding the proposed funeral home site on three sides, and he described the proposed site as being “a baseball throw” away from the residence where his mother-in-law sometimes stays. Meanwhile, other neighbors worried about the traffic the funeral home could cause.

“There are numerous tractor trailer trucks going up and down that road all day… (and) it is over a hill,” said Jimmy Fuller, who lives on the road behind the proposed funeral home. “It’s a blind spot. School buses could have to stop there, and a tractor trailer could come over the hill and I don’t think he could stop if there was a school bus there or anybody parked there – especially a driveway coming out through there.”

Sheriff James Woodruff spoke at an earlier meeting in opposition to the instillation of a funeral home at that location due to safety concerns for traffic turning out onto that busy section of highway at funeral speeds, and that safety concern weighed heavily on the commission vote.

“I never want to be opposed to a man trying to open a business, but that’s a safety hazard according to the sheriff,” said Commissioner Lewis Davis.

A daycare was located at that location at one time, but it closed in 2009. The property did not have to be zoned as commercial to be a daycare under the zoning standards at that time, though the zoning would most likely require an update to be run as a daycare today.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet again on April 18 at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Ave.