County approves home salon after delay

Published 9:44 pm Thursday, June 20, 2024

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The Troup County Board of Commissioners has approved a permit for a salon home business after a couple of compounding technical requirements held up the issue.

The request for a home occupation certificate made by Brent and April Loftin was sent from the Board of Zoning to the commissioners after the lot sizing where the home is being built was not large enough to be a regularly approved use.

Salons are an approved home occupation in the Agricultural Residential zone where the Loftins are building the home on Prestwick but only for lot sizes of at least 2 acres. Their lot size is 1.84 acres so the planning board referred the issue to the Board of Commissioners, recommending approval in a 3-2 vote.

The Loftins sought approval while the home is under construction to ensure that their plans to convert one of the bedrooms in the home into a salon would be allowed before finishing the build. Doing so requires significant changes including parking and sceptic requirements.

Further complicating the issue, the part of the county code that allows the commissioners to override the size discrepancy says that they may not be approved on parcels that do not have an existing home on the lot or parcel at the time of application for a home occupation. Construction for the home in question has started but it’s in the initial stages and far from ready for occupancy.

When the request was initially heard on June 4, County Attorney Jerry Willis suggested that the issue could potentially be resolved with a variance but it would need to be sent back to the zoning board because the commissioners do not issue variances. He also indicated that the commissioners could potentially simply approve the permit as the language in the code is “permissive.”

Willis indicated that county ordinance gives the commissioners the authority to give a home occupation certificate.

“It doesn’t say ‘shall not,’ It doesn’t say it ‘must not.’ It says ‘may not.’ And I think one interpretation of that is that this is permissive. And you can determine those words permissive in this instance,” Willis said during the initial public hearing.

Due to questions on whether to send the issue back to the planning board for a variance or whether the commissioners could just approve the certificate themselves and the lack of votes, the issue was tabled for a second reading on June 18. The Board of Commissioners had a quorum for the June 4 meeting but Commissioner Lewis Davis was out of town on vacation and Commissioner Ellis Cadenhead recused himself due to recently running against April Loftin for his commissioner’s seat.

No one opposed the permit during either public hearing. County staff also confirmed a petition from everyone in the neighborhood indicating they were in favor of the salon.

Ultimately, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the home business occupation certificate with a 3-0 vote. Cadenhead did not vote due to the absence of Commission Chairman Patrick Crews and him leading the meeting in his capacity as vice chairman.