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Board of Commissioners votes to rezone Bartley Road property

By Alicia B. Hill

On Tuesday, the Troup County Board of Commissioners voted in favor of rezoning a property on Bartley Road to make way for a proposed subdivision at that location.

The county has taken an increasingly close look at local housing options recently, and the proposed subdivision would have homes in the price range that was identified as the area of greatest need. The zoning change deviates from the future land use map of the area, but county staff noted that it did fit the zoning trends for that area.

“We do have a lot of residential up and down Bartley Road, and it is consistent in the size as well as the Hamilton Lake subdivision here on Hamilton Road. It is consistent with the current land use and land use patterns,” Senior Building Official Jay Anderson said. “There are a lot of single family residential (properties) in that area.”

However, some residents of the area were opposed to the zoning change, and the county received calls both for and against the rezoning prior to the meeting, as well as a petition against the rezoning. The primary reasons listed for opposition revolved around the increase in housing density and increased traffic.

“There is actually more land around it (the property) that is currently being used as agricultural, so while the diagram of the land around it supports (single family medium density), the land also supports its current use as agricultural residential — primarily in those large lots that you see around it,” said Joshua Harrelson, a resident of Bartley Road.

“The increased use of that land, I think, is the biggest question for me,” Harrelson continued. “We had a conversation about opposing any rezoning or any change to future land use maps, and it is really about the increase in the burden that the zoning (causes).”

The decision before the commission was not whether the subdivision should be allowed at that location or not, since a subdivision would already be allowed at that location. Their vote instead decided how many homes could be built on the property, and by extension, what those home values would be.

“They can develop a subdivision under the current zoning of agricultural, residential or which the applicant has submitted a proposed plan that would have somewhere between 38 and 42 lots that they felt like was not enough for the project,” Anderson said. “Therefore, they are asking for the project to be single family, medium density, and their request was 49 lots — less than 50 — and therefore we are talking 11 to 7 additional lots.”

The property owner stated at an earlier meeting that if he was forced to build on the larger lots, the homes built would likely have to be of a lower value in order to make money on the development.

“The issue here is not whether or not it is going to be a subdivision,” Property Owner Marvin Jones said. “The issue is whether or not you would like a really nice subdivision with 49 lots and homes starting at $250,000, or if you want 2-acre lots with 38 houses.”

The subdivision would take advantage of water and gas from the City of LaGrange, and commissioners noted in an earlier meeting that the development probably would not be possible without access to those utilities.

“The way I look at it is, it is a great area, and when you have those infrastructures in there like gas and water to make it feasible for someone to come in and develop it, that is what we need in the county,” Commissioner Richard English said.

Harrelson’s other concern regarding deviance from the future land use map was not a major concern for the commissioners, who always take the map into account, but have been known to deviate from the uses listed on the map, especially when the rezoning receives a staff recommendation.

The commissioners voted in favor of the zoning 4 to 0 with one abstaining from the vote due to personal ties to the property owner.