Funeral home hits a traffic jam

LaGRANGE – A landowner may have to reconsider business plans on his property due to safety concerns brought to the Troup County commission on Tuesday.

Commissioners reviewed a request to change the zoning on property at 5015 Hamilton Road from agricultural/residential to commercial during their its regular meeting. The proposed use of the property would be a funeral home, though if the zoning were changed, the property would be open to most commercial uses.

The property received a recommendation for denial from the county zoning board, and public safety officials were concerned for drivers turning out onto a state highway at a funeral speed.

“If you go down 27, you go around a curve, you go over a hill, and there is the driveway,” said Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff. “If (someone took) a left there, it would be very dangerous for a staff member of a funeral home to be standing out in the road – like they do sometimes to let these cars out – and it would be very dangerous for one of our deputies to be standing out there. Somebody (could) come over that hill at 65 miles per hour, and they can’t stop, so somebody gets run over. With the size of it, I see cars would have to park on Hardy Road and park around people’s driveways, and that would just be another problem that we would have to deal with.”

Woodruff clarified that he was in favor of small business, but opposed to the location due to the traffic concerns, which mirrored the concerns of the zoning board.

“If you are familiar with funeral homes, when you have a funeral you have a lot of cars coming in and a lot of traffic, and also, one of the concerns is that it is only a two-and-a-half-acre parcel, and you have to have a lot of parking for a funeral home,” said Senior Building Official Jay Anderson. “We really think that they would be limited in their parking, so there was a concern of parking spilling out onto the surrounding roads.”

The property had been used as a daycare in the past, but under the zoning ordinance at the time, the property did not require commercial zoning. The property is surrounded on all sides by agriculture/residential zoned properties. If the property was zoned as commercial, it would be required to have a 50-foot buffer between the business and residential properties, and it would need to create a commercial entrance along with any deceleration lanes deemed necessary.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hold a second reading and vote on the zoning on April 4 at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Ave.

Reach Alicia B. Hill at alicia.hill@lagrangenews.com or at 706-884-7311, Ext. 2154.