CANTON – The Canton Board of Zoning Appeals was asked Monday for relief from what property owners called obstacles to developing their parcels along Old Ball Ground Highway.

The first set of requests regarding 950 Old Ball Ground Highway came from Melissa Casteel, founder of and principal landscape architect at Mondo Land Planning and Design. She requested variances to reduce perimeter parking landscape strips, to allow dumpster encroachment and to eliminate sidewalk along road frontage.

These requests were made because of the future site plans for that area. The property is now owned by Latimer Properties. The future development plans for the site include retail, restaurants and offices.

Casteel’s requests were made from fear that several existing hardships would continue on the existing property with the new development.

The site has been impacted by the realignment of the highway, as well as the 100-foot power easement located along the western half of the property. Casteel said the site is constrained on how structures can be built and placed on the site, limiting layout and visibility from the main access road. The site also has a nearby river buffer that also constrains the building area.

These requests would ensure greater flexibility in the use of the sites remaining, as well as help to relieve the constraints of the site in question, Casteel said.

The board voted to approve the request to reduce perimeter parking with the condition that this would also apply to the landscape buffer behind the adjacent QuikTrip gas station.

Board members also voted to approve the request to allow dumpster encroachment onto 15-inch side yard setback. The council denied the request to eliminate the sidewalk.

“If the site becomes a mixed-use retail development, then we run into issues,” board member John Clark said. “We can’t control who comes in and out of there and with no sidewalk at a site that is becoming a heavily populated area, that could cause problems.”

The second set of requests came from Connor Patton of the Foresite Group regarding 850 Old Ball Ground Highway. He requested variances to reduce drive aisle width from 26 feet to 24 feet, a variance to eliminate the requirement for a deceleration lane and a variance to eliminate the sidewalk along the road frontage.

These requests were made due to the possible construction of a Caliber Auto Body Shop. Patton said the current development code, along with the size and shape of the parcel, would hinder the development of the shop.

Patton said granting these requests would allow the development of the shop to run smoothly, as well as provide conformance with the development code.

The board approved the reduction of the drive aisle width, as well as the request to eliminate the deceleration lane. They denied the request to eliminate the sidewalk along the road frontage, citing the same concerns they had discussed in the previous variance case.

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