Troup County considers zoning request

Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Residents from the area surrounding the New Franklin Road and State Route 54 intersection gave the Troup County Board of Commissioners their opinions Tuesday on a rezoning proposal.

Debbie Gushue, the owner of 2960 West State Route 54 and the applicant’s representative, spoke in favor of rezoning the 2.2-acre property from agricultural to general commercial in order to allow an equipment repair and refurbishing business to locate there. 

The planning board voted against the proposal in a 7-1 vote. No decision was made by the commission on Tuesday since it was the first reading of the proposal.

“We have owned this property since 2005, and we have tried since 2005 to get it zoned commercial because at that time we had a business in Newnan, and we wanted to move our shop from Newnan to Troup County,” Gushue said. “Because of a petition, it was denied. … Now I have someone who wants to purchase the property from me and make it a business for Troup County. This gentleman repairs trailers and forklifts. Most of the time he will go and pick up the items to be repaired. He is willing to do whatever is necessary for approval from the board to get this zoned commercial.”

However, two residents from nearby properties spoke against the proposal and had a petition with about three dozen signatures opposing the rezoning.

“We are just scared of commercial because what happens if this person — even if they do well — leaves? What is going to be commercial [on this property] after that?” said Sandy Dennis, a resident of New Franklin Road. “Pandora’s door is sort of open for us. There are people on the east side. There are some woods in between, but they are fairly close but not as close as my parents are.”

Dennis said that the current use of the surrounding property would make zoning the property general commercial spot zoning due to the distance to the next business. He also brought up a concern about increased traffic at the SR 54, Highway 27 intersection.

The issue of the property’s history was also discussed, including what the owner admitted was a “mess” on the property and additional concerns for the future of the property.

“The reason we went so far out was to get away from anything commercial, and we figured 10 miles was a gracious plenty, but we know it is a major highway there,” said Bert Hunter, a resident of SR 54. “That location where they are wanting to do this has been an eyesore for quite some time. As you’ve heard from the owner, it has been several things. There have been different kinds of businesses operated out of that building. There have been no codes followed.”

County Planner Tracie Hadaway noted that if the property is rezoned as general commercial, it would be required to follow quality development corridor regulations, buffer and screening requirements and industrial design standards. 

“If the rezoning request is approved, the health department will have to inspect and permit any additional septic tank requirements and, of course, the land disturbance permit will have to be issued so as to not create any adverse environmental impact on the surrounding area,” Hadaway said. “The parcel is identified as commercial in the 2015 future land use map that Troup County has adopted.”

A 50-foot vegetative buffer would also be required, and the Georgia Department of Transportation has been informed of the request, according to Hadaway. Internally lit signage or external lighting would be permitted. 

“The surrounding land use is primarily residential and wooded. The land use trends in this area reflect this same residential and wooded type nature,” Hadaway said. “A rezoning from agricultural to general commercial however will not change the population density or overburden the public facilities in this area.”

A decision on the proposal is expected at the commission’s regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 7 at 9 a.m.

Other items covered in the meeting included:

  • The Troup County Board of Commissioners approved a request to lift the hiring freeze in order to fill a budgeted position in the Troup County Elections and Registration Department. The position is budgeted, and the employee who previously filled the position was retiring.
  • The commissioners also voted to approve a budget amendment to allow for changes to the Mental Health Court Supplemental Award. The matching funding is expected to be provided by Meriwether County, which will be receiving a case manager through the grant.
  • The commissioners voted to approve upgrades to the county’s E-911 system. E-911 Director Jason Lawson confirmed that five years of maintenance would be included in the agreement, with an option to extend after that time.
  • Finally, the board of commissioners voted to approve a transmittal resolution of the capital improvement element update. The resolution basically states that the county did not charge an impact fee in the previous year and does not plan to charge an impact fee in the upcoming year. It does however give Troup County the option of charging an impact fee in the future without paying to reestablish the framework of that charge.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet again on Aug. 2 at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Ave.