Office of Planning&Zoning Approves Six Land Use Ordinance Amendments

News, Planning&Zoning

ELLIJAY, Ga. – During the Gilmer County Planning & Zoning meeting held on Thursday, July 18, 2019, the board discussed the following land use ordinance amendments.

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Variance Request)

1. Consideration of Land Use Change (Variance Request)

Applicant Name: Richard Sanfilippo
Owner Name: Richard D., Samantha A., & Terry F. Sanfilippo
Owner Address: 219 Man O’ War Circle, Cantonment, FL 32533
Property Location: 657 Nexus Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3039A-095
Size of Property: 1.13 acres
Current Land Use Classification: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Use of Property: Build a Residence on Parcel
Variance Requested: 11′ Variance to the 35′ Front Setback

Passed, none oppose. One neighbor called with concerns with it being too close to the road. A present citizen voiced concerns over potential septic tank and trout stream contamination.

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning / Conditional Use Request(s))

1. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request(s))

Applicant Name: Hsiao Cai & Amanda Liu
Owner Name: America Dhamma Society, Inc.
Owner Address: 2385 Gates Chapel Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 1975 Old Flat Branch Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3078-007
Size of Property: 6.54 acres
Current Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Retreat for Meditation and Teaching

Tabled until a lawyer is involved, as the board isn’t sure whether or not to classify this as a campground or something else entirely. One citizen concerned about potential traffic increase.

2. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request(s))

Applicant Name: Hsiao Cai & Amanda Liu
Owner Name: The Terrance Hwang Revocable Trust
Owner Address: 2385 Gates Chapel Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 1971 Old Flat Branch Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3078-005
Size of Property: 171.54 acres
Current Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Retreat for Meditation and Teaching

Tabled until a lawyer is involved, as the board isn’t sure whether or not to classify this as a campground or something else entirely.

3. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))

Applicant Name: Mitchell Hensley
Owner Name: Vira Hensley
Owner Address: 319 Pleasant Gap Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 319 Pleasant Gap Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3035-030
Size of Property: 0.33 acre portion
Current Land Use Classification: R-1 (Residential Low Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Use of Property: Combine 0.21 and 0.12 acre Corners with Parcel 3035-029 to Cure Encroachments.

Passed, none oppose. No complaints or questions from neighbors.

4. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))

Applicant Name: Anthony Arbucci
Owner Name: Anthony Arbucci
Owner Address: 186 Berry Hill Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 0 Lower Tails Creek Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3022I-001
Size of Property: 1.72 acres
Current Land Use Classification: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)

Passed, none oppose.

5. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))

Applicant Name: Anthony Arbucci
Owner Name: Anthony Arbucci
Owner Address: 186 Berry Hill Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 0 Lower Tails Creek Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3022I-002
Size of Property: 2.16 acres.
Current Land Use Classification: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Use of Property: Combine with Parcel 3021-056

Passed, none oppose.

6. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request(s))

Applicant Name: Mike Duke
Owner Name: West Ellijay Storage, LLC.
Owner Address: 88 Brooks Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 0 Harold Pritchett Road. Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3065-123D
Size of Property: 2.0 acres
Current Land Use Classification: C-1 (Commercial)
Proposed Land Use Classification: C-1 (Commercial) w/Conditional Use.
Proposed Use of Property: Mini-Warehouse Storage Units

Pass, none oppose. No complaints or questions from neighbors.

7. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))

Applicant Name: Samantha Walker
Owner Name: DF Walker Properties, LLC.
Owner Address: P.O. Box 2001, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 2218 Hwy. 52 East, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3081-171C
Size of Property: 2.18 acres
Current Land Use Classification: C-1 (Commercial)

Proposed Land Use Classification: I-1 (Industrial)

Proposed Use of Property: Water Bottling Facility

Approved with condition it is to be used for bottling water only. The water will be brought in by truck, bottled, and then exported by truck. None oppose. No questions or concerns from neighbors.

 

Final / Preliminary Plat Approval: Walker Reserve – Final – The Hammock – Preliminary – Water Song Phase 1 – Preliminary.

Passed, none oppose.
Variances are approved entirely by the board. However, The map amendments for the zoning changes must still be approved by the Board of Commissioners. Be sure to stay tuned for future updates!

The next Planning & Zoning meeting is currently scheduled for Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 5 pm for those who wish to attend. This meeting is currently expected to be held in the Commissioner’s meeting room of the Gilmer County Courthouse, to the left of the Voter’s Registration Office.

If anyone recognizes what they consider personal information in any of my articles and wishes for it to be removed, please notify fynethanh@gmail.com immediately.

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Office of Planning&Zoning Examines Eight Land Use Ordinance Amendments

News, Planning&Zoning

ELLIJAY, Ga. – During the Gilmer County Planning & Zoning meeting held on Thursday, June 20, 2019, the board discussed the following land use ordinance amendments.

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Variance Request)

1. Consideration of Land Use Change (Variance Request)

Applicant name: Candis H. Naquin & Bruce E. Post
Owner Name: Candis H. Naquin & Bruce E. Post
Owner Address: 447 Antler Ridge Rd., Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 447 Antler Ridge Rd., Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3093P-009
Size of Property: 2.22 acres
Current Land Use Classification: R-1 (Residential Low Density)
Proposed Use of Property: Place an approx 16×25 Garage on Parcel
Variance Requested: 35 ‘Variance to the 40’ Rear Setback

Passed, none oppose. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition. There is already a level area for a garage on the property.

 

2. Consideration of Land Use Change (Variance Request)

Applicant Name: Ricky Balanno
Owner Name: Pinnacle Home Builders
Owner Address: 4381 Yorkshire Court, Loganville, Ga. 30052
Map and Parcel Number: 3037E-018
Size of Property: 0.58 acres
Current Land Use of Property: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Use of Property: Build a 32×39 Residence on Parcel
Variance Requested: -30 ‘Variance to the 35’ Front Setback

Passed, none oppose. Was requested earlier this year. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition.

 

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning / Conditional Use Request(s))

 

1. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request (s))

Applicant Name: Sheila Miller
Owner Name: Kenneth Richards
Owner Address: 42 Starcraft Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 42 Starcraft Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3054-011
Size of Property: 0.93 acres
Current Land Use Classification: R-1 (Residential Low Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: R-1 (Residnetial Low Density) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Use RV for Guest Home

Intended for hardship purposes. Passed, none oppose, but once hardship goes, then temporary/conditional use expires. Applicant present but did not speak.

 

2. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))
Applicant Name: Chandra Teague
Owner Name: Chandra Teague
Owner Address: 280 Clear Creek Valley Dr. Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 0 Mulkey Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3098-015B
Size of Property: 10.25 acres
Current Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Use of Property: Create subdivision for single family dwellings.

Already has approval from the Water Authority. Seven to eight houses to be added. Owner must install new water main.

 

3. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))
Applicant Name: David Hensley
Owner Name: Russell & Tanya Ginger
Owner Address: 320 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 280 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3130B-019
Size of property: 6.49 acres
Current land use classification: R-1 (Residential Low Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Use of Property: Create Agritourism / Lodging Business – Short-Term
Room Accommodations: Event Hosting, and Heritage Homesteading Workshops

Passed, none oppose. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition.

 

4. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request (s))
Applicant Name: David Hensley
Owner Name: Russell & Tanya Ginger
Owner Address: 320 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 280 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3130B-019
Size of property: 6.49 acres
Current land use classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Create Agritourism / Lodging Business – Short-Term
Room Accommodations and Heritage Homesteading Workshops

Passed, none oppose. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition. Proposed for bike trails, weekend craft activities and farm animal education and interaction.

 

5. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request (s))

Applicant Name: David Hensley
Owner Name: Russell & Tanya Ginger
Owner Address: 320 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 280 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3130B-019
Size of property: 6.49 acres
Current land use classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Weddings & Events Venue

No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition. Limited on events size and units are planned for housing families. Tabled until other areas of the property are re-zoned.

 

Final / Preliminary Plat Approval: Walker Reserve – Final – Hidden Lake Phase 8 – Minor subdivision Final

Passed, none oppose. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition.

 

 

Variances are approved entirely by the board. However, The map amendments for the zoning changes must still be approved by the Board of Commissioners. Be sure to stay tuned for future updates!

The next Planning & Zoning meeting is currently scheduled for Thursday, July 18, 2019 for those who wish to attend. This meeting is currently expected to be held in the Jury Assembly room of the Gilmer County Courthouse.

If anyone recognizes what they consider personal information in any of my articles and wishes for it to be removed, please notify fynethanh@gmail.com immediately.

FetchYourNews.com attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and has between 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit advertise@FetchYourNews.com.

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BOC discusses new school zoning for BOE

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – During their June meeting, the Gilmer Board of Commissioners saw an item requesting a rezoning to PI-1 for the Gilmer County Board of Education.

This item is a part of planning and preparations for a new school to be built on the school’s Clear Creek property next to Clear Creek Middle School (CCMS). The school is set to replace the current Ellijay Primary School (EPS) as part of a plan to reorganize the school system.

This item is far ahead of any concrete plans on construction as the BOE is awaiting approval of a new ESPLOST referendum before they could move forward with this construction project.

During their work session, the Board of Commissioners discussed the item. With all three in favor of the school, the only discussion came from understanding what impact the project would have on the counties surrounding infrastructure. Post Commissioner Dallas Miller asked what changes would need to be done to the roads like Clear Creek Road and Yukon Road. Miller inquired if they would need deceleration lanes or traffic lights. While no solid answer is available at this time due to the project not even being out of idea stages without ESPLOST money to support it, there did become an understanding between the two entities for continued communication.

With CCMS already at the location, there may not be much, if any, change in school vehicle traffic like buses on the road, however, effectively “moving” EPS to the new location would obviously increase traffic on Yukon Road and Clear Creek Road from staff and parents.

While the BOC did approve the rezoning request, Miller’s comments at the work session made it apparent that they will be looking for constant communication on the project so that they may prepare the streets accordingly. Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs and two members of the Board of Education, Chairman Michael Bramlett and Vice Chair Ronald Watkins, were on hand during the BOC Regular Meeting to speak with the Commissioners before the meeting.

FYN’s current understanding of the project is that discussion is still going on how to maintain the communication. There is no information yet on if this would take the form of a report during commissioner’s meetings, a liaison between the two boards, or something else.

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McCutchen rezoning raises traffic questions

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Ellijay City Council held their February meeting with few items on the agenda, but a zoning request still raised plenty of discussion with a subdivision coming to McCutchen Street.

The zoning request is actually a reduction in density as it was approved to change from an R-3 to an R-1. The two men present at the meeting, Steve Wadley and Paul King, represented the zone change requester 548 MCC, LLC. and the community called The Ridge.

Minor opposition came during the meeting as citizens living on McCutchen Street questioned what would be done about an increase in traffic on the street. Their answer came as Wadley revealed part of their plan in construction was to widen Barclay Street to become a two-lane road. Barclay will be the main entrance to the community and is expected to have most of its traffic using a short spot of McCutchen to connect to Old Highway 5 and North Main Street.

The request for changing 548 McCutchen Street was approved unanimously during the meeting.

Also during the meeting, the council approved a Brew Pub License for River Street Tavern Inc. and its licensee Heather Simmons. The Brew Pub License will allow the Tavern to brew beer on premises for sale in the restaurant. With no comments or questions, the license was approved during the meeting unanimously.

One final note for the city’s business was approval to dispose of one 2006 Ford Crown Victoria at public auction. The vehicle is an older police vehicle that has been replaced.

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PUBLIC HEARING LAND USE ORDINANCE AMENDMENT

Announcements, Community

GILMER COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION /

GILMER COUNTY BOARD of LAND USE APPEALS

PUBLIC HEARING

LAND USE ORDINANCE AMENDMENT

Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 5:00 P.M.

 

Pursuant to Section 62-339 of the Gilmer County Land Use and Development Ordinance, the Gilmer County Board of Land Use Appeals will hold a public hearing on Thursday, February 15th, 2018 at 5:00 P.M. in the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners Conference Room in Ellijay, Georgia. The purpose of the public hearing is to hear public comment concerning an application to amend the Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance as follows

 

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Variance Request)

Applicant Name – Chester Cass

Owner Name – Chester & Linda Cass

Owner Address – 1535 Sherwood Lakes Blvd., Lakeland FL 33809

Property Location – 151 Oneida Circle, Ellijay, Ga. 30540

Map and Parcel Number – 3038G-021(combined & recorded w/020)

Size of Property – 1.10 acres

Current Land Use Classification – R-2 (Residential High Density)

Proposed Use of Property – Build 10×20 Porch w/10×18 Side Deck & 15×20 Back Deck – Build a 10×12 & 8×10 Additional Finished Space

Variance Requested – 6’ Variance to the 35’ Front Setback

Applicant Name – Gabriel Mayfield

Owner Name – David K. Schilling

Owner Address – 200 Watercress Drive, Roswell, Ga. 30076

Property Location – 0 Pocaset Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30540

Map and Parcel Number – 3093D-026

Size of Property – 0.79 acres

Current Land Use Classification – R-2 (Residential High Density)

Proposed Use of Property – Build a 2100 square foot home on parcel

Variance Requested – 55’ Variance to the 75’ Front Setback

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning / Conditional Use Request(s))

Applicant Name – Terry F. Hackney

Owner Name – Terry F. Hackney

Owner Address – 4870 Jekyll Rd., Cumming, Ga. 30040

Property Location – 682 Tanglewood Lane, Ellijay, Ga. 30540

Map and Parcel Number – 3064-105

Size of Property – 2.09 acres

Current Land Use Classification – R-1 (Residential Low Density)

 Proposed Land Use Classification – A-1 (Agricultural)

Proposed Use of Property – Combine with adjacent parcel for Conservation

 

Applicant Name – Terry F. Hackney

Owner Name – Terry F. Hackney

Owner Address – 4870 Jekyll Rd., Cumming, Ga. 30040

Property Location – 682 Tanglewood Lane, Ellijay, Ga. 30540

Map and Parcel Number – 3064-105B

Size of Property – 4.00 acres

Current Land Use Classification – R-1 (Residential Low Density)

 Proposed Land Use Classification – A-1 (Agricultural)

Proposed Use of Property – Combine with adjacent parcel for Conservation

 

Applicant Name – Michael Miller

Owner Name – Michael & Linda Miller

Owner Address – 6992 Rock Creek Road, Cherry Log, Ga. 30522

Property Location – 0 Rock Creek Road, Cherry Log, Ga. 30522

Map and Parcel Number – 3120-009

Size of Property – 4.45 acres

Current Land Use Classification – R-1 (Residential Low Density)

 Proposed Land Use Classification – A-1 (Agricultural)

Proposed Use of Property – Combine with adjacent parcel

 

Applicant Name – Michael Miller

Owner Name – Michael & Linda Miller

Owner Address – 6992 Rock Creek Road, Cherry Log, Ga. 30522

Property Location – 0 Rock Creek Road, Cherry Log, Ga. 30522

Map and Parcel Number – 3120-009

Size of Property – 4.45 acres

Current Land Use Classification – R-1 (Residential Low Density)

 Proposed Land Use Classification – A-1 (Agricultural)

Proposed Use of Property – Combine with adjacent parcel

Final / Preliminary Plat Approval – Walker Preserve Preliminary

Pursuant to Section 62-340 of the Gilmer County Land Use and Development Ordinance, “Whenever a map amendment or an application for conditional use is proposed, the land development officer shall cause to have posted in a conspicuous place on said property one or more sign(s), the size of which may be prescribed by resolution of the county board of commissioners and each of which shall contain information as to the proposed change and the date, time and location of the public hearing before the public hearing body.”

 

Agenda is subject to change.

Rezoning dominates commissioners meetings

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners spent the majority of their January meetings discussing rezoning requests from citizens.

Though three requests were on the agenda, the two that took the most attention involved a change from R-1 residential low density to A-1 agricultural for Russell Moss Jr. and Vicki Moss (Tax Map 3050K, Parcel 013) as well as an A-1 agricultural to A-1 agricultural with conditional use for Neil Gary (Tax Map 3083, Parcel 034C).

The Moss request involved planning for three structures on the property as Vicki Moss originally stated she wanted to plan on having ultimately one house as well as two tree houses for rent but was not trying to build a trailer park or similar setup. Though she bought the property as R-1 and stating she initially had no thought to change it, Moss stated she had later learned the restrictions of structure numbers for R-1 zone when she thought about building the additional structures.

Moss stated she only wanted to rezone to agricultural to put three structures on the one lot without paying an engineer to subdivide the lot and make room for the structures individually. A sentiment that Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris had earlier, in the commissioners work session, opposed due to making an agricultural lot on a road among numerous other residential lots. Though she stated her intended use, Paris commented he did not want to “open up” the lot to potential uses approved under agricultural with a later owner or something of the sort.

Citizens from the area spoke in opposition to the request as well. Property owner Bill Stucker echoed the chairman’s comments asking for the board to protect them as neighbors and the feel of their neighborhood as it is.

Jason Hoffsteader, owner of 35 acres on Stillwell Road, noted the road’s current condition and narrowness. Noting Moss’ idea of renting properties, he said he was concerned with extra drivers who did not know the road coming through the neighborhood. The extra congestion of continuous “new-to-the-road” drivers could cause added stress of accidents due to the road’s condition. Hoffsteader also noted he chose his location when he bought the property due to large tracts with single houses in the neighborhood.

A very unusual occurrence came as Stillwell resident Albert Goode came to the commissioner’s podium to speak. He asked Moss if he could question her in the meeting. As she agreed, Chairman Paris allowed the questioning in the meeting. However, after roughly five minutes of questioning, Paris stepped in to end the questioning. Though he noted he originally allowed the questioning because he wanted to hear the citizens speak, he directed public comments to return to being addressed to the commissioners.

During the questioning, Goode questioned Moss’ intended uses for the properties she owned in the area. With three properties in total, the issue Goode questioned was having mobile tiny homes on the lots. Goode’s opposition was based on quality of life in the area with the extra buildings in use. Moss informed those present that while the one zone in question was requested for three rental properties, she would be ultimately building her retirement home on one of the other properties. The rental property she wanted to build would also access the creek for floating for anyone renting the property.

Before finalizing their vote 3-0 to deny the request, Post Commissioner Dallas Miller commented saying, “The preponderance of the number of parcels is residential. So, I look at that as a rural part of our county, as a residential, single family, R-1 zoned area … Our job as commissioners, I think, is to preserve, as much as possible, the residential and rural areas of our county.”

Despite the denial, Moss can still return to her property and, having enough space in the lot, subdivide it into three lots to continue forward with her plans for rental property with tiny homes after the commissioners finish their moratorium on tiny homes on wheels.

The second item of note, also denied, came from the rezone request for Neil Gary to add a conditional use on his agricultural zone property. The conditional use was to allow a gun range to be put on the property. The Planning Commission recommended denial of the request.

Paris commented on the item saying, “I support people’s ability to shoot their guns on their property if they can do it safely and without disrupting the lives of their neighbors. I don’t see this particular request as one that would be conducive to a quality of life for the neighbors nearby, and I also don’t see that the standard of safety in an area that congested could be maintained properly.”

Gilmer County Post Commissioner Travis Crouch echoed the sentiments saying, “It is the setting of this particular parcel that brings doubt in my mind … It’s not an opposition to the concept of this business, it’s just the location that I object to.”

In Gary’s application, he noted his “extensive and verifiable backgrounds in special operations, law enforcement and armed security.” Wanting to offer training and services to both law enforcement and civilian clients, Gary stated he wished to offer training in several areas in addition to “how to shoot” including how to carry safely, when not to take one’s gun out, and when not to shoot.

Though denied for the rezone for conditional use, the commissioners noted this application for rezone was for a commercial setup and does not weigh on a person’s personal right to firearms practice and similar activities.

There was also an approved request for Dogwood Financials, LTD, (Tax Map 3082, Parcel 072) to downgrade the plot from R-3 residential multi-family to R-2 high density.

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Rezoning and Repaving Take Focus in November for BOC

News, Police & Government

ELLIJAY, GA – Rezonings and LMIG took a large portion of the Board of Commissioners November Meetings as opposition and details came in abundance for both.

A request to rezone for Lalit Devgan, Tax Map 3150 Parcel 007a, wanted to add a conditional use to the R-1 Residential Zoning. The conditional use would allow for a bed and breakfast home. Though Devgan and the Realtor spoke on behalf of the Bed and Breakfast, numerous others spoke against it. Bill Craig spoke at the meeting about a petition with over 20 names set against the rezone.

Craig also noted the county definition of a bed and breakfast home states the owner must live in the building while maintaining short overnight stays for no more than four guests. Craig and others noted that Devgan openly admitted he would not continually occupy the house as his family lives in Atlanta.

While the idea of “owner occupied” could be overcome by giving a share of the business to a manager. Still more citizens spoke about the business and their opposition to it. Aiden Stuart spoke on the concept of wanting to maintain his area outside of the city to be non-commercial. Saying he moved to Gilmer for the mountain home, he opposed the rezoning as it would be changing the concept of his neighborhood.

As the Commissioners debated the rezoning request, Chairman Charlie Paris stated he would vote to protect what the citizens believe to keep the rural parts of the county in a rural setting. Opposing the rezoning, Paris stated that citizens who move to the county and “do their homework,” to see that the entire surrounding area is marked R1 for a residential zone, want to avoid something commercial coming in later, “I think we have an obligation to protect that for them.”

Post Commissioner Dallas Miller noted he believed the ordinance should be changed to avoid the commercialization of residential zones, but as the ordinance currently stands, he could not vote against it as it is allowed by the ordinance. The application being “pretty cut and dry,” he would have to allow it as a Commissioner. While he noted he really did not want to vote either way, he was not allowed to abstain, therefore voting in favor of the rezoning.

Post Commissioner Travis Crouch also noted the land use ordinance, stating a bed and breakfast home was in the ordinance as an allowed conditional use. He stated he felt conflicted over the issue, but weighing in the ordinance and the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Board as a unanimous decision to approve, Crouch voted in favor of the rezoning.

With the vote, Chairman Paris actually first moved to deny the request, but had no second. Therefore, his motion died. Crouch then motioned to approve with a second from Miller. The final vote came 2-1 with Paris being the dissenting vote.

Another major issue discussed over the month’s meetings came through next year’s LMIG. The County received estimates for the LMIG funds, along with the currently awarded bids for materials next year. Public Works Director Jim Smith originally gave a list of roads he recommended to pave next year. However, seeing the bids in the work session, Smith recalculated and returned to the Regular Session to estimate the county will be able to re-pave 7.63 miles of road in the unincorporated areas. Especially citing stone increasing by a dollar per ton, Asphault increasing on the 12.5 milmeter super pave by $3.76 per ton, and Emulsion expected to increase even after rebidding, Smith recommended the following roads for LMIG next year: Tower Road, Johnson Mill Road, Blackberry Mountain Road, Pisgah Road, and Cherokee Drive in addition to the second half of the Mountaintown Road as Phase 2 from this years paving.

The 2018 LMIG will also return to County Personnel laying and paving the roads as opposed to bidding the projects this year to free up resources and people to continue working on the Cherry Log Fire Station.

The Board also approved an offer for Duplicating Processes for a new copier contract as seen below. The Commissioners noted that several private entities in the county use this company as well as certain offices in the county who already use them.

Additionally in the meeting, the Commissioners appointed Max Holstein to the Whitepath Golf Course Advisory Board. Though the Commissioners originally had another candidate, Chairman Paris noted he would like to not fill the Board with locals around the Golf Course, but instead maintain a variety of people from across the county.

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Zoning Issues in Ellijay’s City Council

News

The majority of citizen’s and council’s input revolved around two issues that faced the Council at Monday nights meeting, November 21.

A Public Hearing was held before the regular meeting to hear citizens speaking for or against a Rezoning of Lot 13 on Legion Road to Commercial. The owner, David Rachlin, stood to speak about his plans for the lot stating he was wanting to establish an RV Resort for visitors to the area.

His Resort idea included 10 RV’s that he would rent to visitors and establish on the premises, so no visitors would need bring theirs. While he expects mostly weekenders and short time stays, the owner also spoke of adding other facilities to accommodate the Resort including a Sauna, Jacuzzi, Game Room, and even a possible Basketball Court.

According to Rachlin, the business has already been tested in a separate area and has been receiving five star reviews on popular sites such as Yelp! The business would be set to open from April 15 to November 1 each year.

However, several neighbors to the proposed lot appeared before the council to oppose the rezoning request such as Gary Blasky, a resident of the nearby Timberwalk Estates, who raised questions about the size of the lot, its boundaries, and the close proximity to his neighborhood.

Another resident of Timberwalk raised her security concerns as well stating the proximity would allow campers in the RV Resort to be only a short walk from residents backyards and their children.

Jim Mahoney, a nearby resident who stated he lived within 200 feet of the lot, opposed the zoning request on concerns about increased noise and traffic on the road in addition to his proximity.

In fact, roughly 10 different people stood in the public hearing to voice their concerns in addition to a report of numerous calls, a 15-signature petition, and a letter from the Environmental Health Department concerned about the size of the lot in relation to the stated plans for a commercial business.

Ultimately, the overwhelming opposition before the City Council led to a 5-0 vote to deny the request.

Other requests before the council involved new and renewed alcohol licenses including, Holts Mini Mart for an Off Premise Consumption Beer and Wine License, Ellijay Convenience for an Off Premise Beer License, Seth’s on Boardwalk for an On Premise Beer and Wine License, American Legion for an On Premise Consumption Renewal, Cajun Depot for an On Premise Beer and Wine Renewal, River Street Tavern for an On Premise Beer, Wine, and Distilled Spirits Renewal, and Lee’s on River Street for an On Premise Beer, Wine, and Spirits Renewal.

All of these licenses received approvals, but those approvals came contingent upon background checks for each as the City has had trouble receiving the checks due to a change in process. According to City Clerk Sharon Nelson, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation recently informed the Council non-criminal checks now have to be done through a third party.

One other subject on alcohol came through the Council’s meeting as they are once again considering an ordinance to allow alcohol on the Downtown Boardwalk. This time, the ordinance would allow for a specific section of the Boardwalk to be an allowable zone for those drinking at the local restaurant.

Ellijay City Chief of Police Edward Lacey was asked his opinion on the possibility in the meeting. He replied as long as clear signs marked the area, it would be enforceable by officers.

The discussion came up to gauge the council’s interest before spending money on the City Attorney to draw up another legal wording document for the council. The First Reader on this specific “Zone of the Boardwalk” will appear before the Council in December’s Meeting.

Two final actions taken by the council at Monday’s meeting appointed new members to two boards.

The Council returned Lex Rainey to the Gilmer County Board of Health for a 6 year appointment. Rainey was already on the Board, but was nearing the end of his term. City Mayor Al Hoyle told the Council that the Board of Health requested the City re-appoint Rainey due to his active roles and support he brought to them.

Finally, the City Council also filled a vacancy on the Downtown Development Authority with Judy Wilson. Mayor Hoyle informed the Council Wilson had already been notified and indicated she would be willing to serve on the DDA.

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