After receiving recommendations from the Cherokee County Planning Commission on four planning and zoning cases, the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners made their decision on the matters at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The first case to come up resolved an issue that has been ongoing for more than a year, with the board reaching a conclusion on the special-use permit for Big Door Winery in the White community near the Bartow County line.

The planning commission heard the latest version of the case at its January meeting, recommended approval of the permit, but took the list of conditions offered up by Big Door and made their own suggestions on the conditions. Some of the conditions put forth were modified, such as allowing for the sale of wine produced at Big Door or any other Georgia farm winery on site, but not beer brewed by craft breweries, while others were not recommended for inclusion, like allowing outdoor speakers on the premises or the building of a second tasting room.

“I know this case has been going on for awhile, and I’m glad that we are able to resolve it tonight,” Commission Chair Harry Johnston said.

When making his motion, Commissioner Benny Carter wanted to be sure everything was covered and thus submitted the motion in three parts and great detail. The first portion of the motion approved the special-use permit for the operation of a farm winery at that location, while the second listed off the additional uses that would be allowed at Big Door and the final section detailed prohibited uses on the property. After Carter was through going through his detailed motion, Johnston wanted to clarify one of the points contained in it, wondering if the porch attached to the tasting room was included when referencing what would be allowed in the tasting room, to which Carter confirmed the porch was included. The motion was then approved in a unanimous vote.

Following this, the commissioners took action on a rezoning request for 1.92 acres on Union Hill Road, with the application asking the parcel go from residential requiring lots of 80,000 square feet to residential requiring lots of 40,000 square feet to allow for two homes to be built on the site. The application also contained a concurrent variance request to the minimum lot width at the front of the property and allowing an encroachment into the zoning buffer due to the rather unusual shape of the parcel. The planning commission recommended approval of both the rezoning and the variance in March. The board of commissioners concurred with this recommendation and unanimously approved both portions of the request.

The third case surrounded a request to rezone 25.53 acres of land at the intersection of Sugar Pike Road and Batesville Road from residential to agricultural so it could be essentially tied to the parcel of land next door, which already operates as a farm. The planning commission expressed no issue with allowing the rezoning to move forward, but did place three conditions on its recommendation for approval. Under the conditions, the land up for rezoning would be limited to structures typically associated with farming operations and facilities like a bed and breakfast, no outside storage of materials except those used in the course of the business and no parking of trucks, trailers and heavy equipment other than what is allowed in an agricultural zoning district. The commissioners saw no issue with either the rezoning or the conditions put forth by the planning commission and unanimously approved rezoning the property with the recommended conditions.

The fourth and final case that went before the board Tuesday dealt with Journey Christian Church, which was interested in obtaining a special-use permit to construct a new facility on Arnold Mill Road near Woodstock. While religious institutions are allowed to be developed in areas zoned residential requiring lots of 40,000 square feet, they must have a special-use permit to do so. The church was also seeking two concurrent variances to go with their application that would allow for parking in front of the building and for grading to take place within a buffer area, due to the topography of the parcel. When the case went before the planning commission in March, the requests received a recommendation for approval, but the planning commission attached five conditions to the recommendation. Under these conditions, the maximum building square footage on site would be limited to 30,000 square feet, there would be a maximum of 168 parking spaces, lighting must be in accordance with county regulations and the back parking lot would be restricted to when the building was in use, building setback to allow for traffic was limited to 35 feet and a traffic study would be required to be completed during the development plan. A motion to approve the special use permit and variances with the planning commission’s recommended conditions attached passed unanimously.

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