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Commissioners approve permit for farm education

On Tuesday, the Troup County Board of Commissioners approved an agro-tourism permit for the non-profit Heritage Breed Animals and Seed Preservation to display and teach agriculture. 

The close to 80-acre property was already zoned for agricultural use, and under the approved permit, the farm could host a variety of events including fall festivals, lavender festivals, flower festivals, operate a store with farm related products, offer pick-your-own items, farm tours and specialty classes.

“I think it’s going to be a great asset to the community,” said Jessica Turner, the applicant. 

“We’re going to supply a lot of educational opportunities for children to come on the land, understand where their food is grown, understand about unique animals that some of them are actually going extinct. They’re going to learn about organic growing. They’re going to learn about their community in general and how to help each other.”

Some local groups have already visited the farm including members of the LaGrange Youth Council.

“We’re trying to bring the public [in and] would love to start adult classes teaching people about fiber production,” Turner said. “That’s wool, alpaca fleece, spinning, knitting. We would love to spin that off into guilds where people actually come and learn to trade and take that back with them, maybe have a second income job at their home. There’s a lot of potential I think for this area and a lot of help it can give the community.”

The land is currently in use for PineyWoods Farm, which a 501(c)3 nonprofit certified organic farm that donates produce to the Georgia Food Bank and other similar Georgia charities. 

The application stated that the educational aspect is in addition to its current nonprofit use.

“Basically, this is what the agritourism thing is all about,” Commissioner Lewis Davis said. “I think it is a good thing.”

There was no comment against the rezoning during the Troup County Board of Commissioners meeting or the board of zoning appeals meetings, but the county did put in place a standard set of conditions.

“Access to the property via West Point Road must be approved by the Georgia Department of Transportation, and access to the property for Hudson Road must be approved by our Troup County Roads Engineering Department,” County Planner Erin Johnson said. 

“Any traffic driveways must be designed with two lanes with an all-weather accessibility including emergency vehicles. 

Plans will be reviewed and approved by the county engineer and fire marshal. No amplified by music outside after 10 p.m.”

The conditions also required that any new buildings be permitted through the county, no parking on the right of way, signage in line with residential zoning district requirements and no light spillover onto adjacent properties. 

Other items covered during the Troup County Board of Commissioners meeting included:

4 Facilities Maintenance Manager Larry Nommensen was recognized with the November 2019 Strongest Link Award. 

4 The Troup County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a lift of the hiring freeze to hire a new shop mechanic and a civil engineer.

4 The board of commissioners held an executive session to discuss a real estate matter. No decision was announced.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners will meet again on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Ave.