Commissioners postpone decision on home business application a second time

Published 9:30 am Thursday, January 5, 2023

The Troup County Board of Commissioners has once again postponed a decision to allow a home business for a truck driver who was caught parking his tractor truck at his home.

During the previous commissioner’s meeting on Dec. 20, the board considered a request from Spence Jester to operate a trucking company out of his home located at 132 East Mount Zion Church Rd. The home would only be used to carry out the telecommunications, planning and coordination for the trucking business.

Under county ordinance, tractor trucks over 11,000 pounds, like the 18,000-pound truck operated by the applicant, are not allowed to be parked at residences without full enclosure.

Community Development Director Troy Anderson advised that the applicant had agreed to store the truck at an offsite facility.

Anderson advised that staff was prepared to recommend approval of the home business, however, it was discovered that Jester had parked his truck in the front yard of the home in violation of county ordinance, so staff recommended denial.

During the initial public hearing, the applicant insisted that he had not “parked” the tractor truck at the home, saying that he had simply “stopped” there overnight. Jester indicated that he parked the trailer in Newnan in a space that he had paid for and only brought the truck home.

At the time, Jester made no indication that he planned to stop parking at the home.

Jester isn’t alone in parking his tractor truck at his residence. Anderson said that trucks are frequently parked at residences throughout the county in violation of the ordinance.

Anderson said no complaints had been received about the applicant parking his truck at the residence, but at least one call was received about a similar truck parked at another residence.

Commissioner Morris Jones suggested placing conditions that would allow the applicant to park his truck at the home so that he can continue earning a living. Commissioner Lewis Davis echoed these thoughts saying that the unincorporated area of Troup County should be considered differently.

“When you live in the unincorporated area, I think you should live on a little different rule than if you live in downtown LaGrange,” Davis said. “I don’t want to be the type of person that hurts a man trying to make a living, but I also believe the man ought to live under certain conditions to keep it in an orderly manner.”

“I think we need to sit back and really look at this before we move forward in my opinion. We need to look and see, [since] the neighbor is not complaining, if the county can come in with some type of conditions for this individual on what he’s got to do. Then the next case it comes up, you already set a precedence on what you do,” Jones said.

County Attorney Jerry Willis reminded the commissioners that parking the truck at the home is a violation of county ordinance, not just a condition for the business application.

“I don’t know how you can put a condition on a tractor, either parking there or not parking there, because your ordinance says you can’t do it,” Willis said.

Willis suggested that the commissioners could change the ordinance but allowing the applicant to park there under a condition would be inappropriate.

Several commissioners pushed back on the parking rule saying it should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

“That particular rule is too stringent. You’re trying to enforce the rules, and I understand,” Davis said. “It’s just my personal opinion. I think it’s a little too standard, where it’s just matter of fact, yes or no, black or white.”

Ultimately, the commissioners voted to continue the discussion on the application until the next meeting to get more information from the applicant and to allow county staff to see how other counties deal with the issue.