The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners conducted a pair of public hearings during Tuesday night’s meeting before taking action on a proposed law regarding pet sales in the county and amendments to the county zoning ordinance.

The first public hearing dealt with an ordinance to prohibit the sale of dogs and cats in retail pet stores, although it would allow stores to have space where local animal shelters and rescue missions could showcase some of the pets they have available for adoption. Cities within Cherokee County have taken action in recent years to pass similar laws, while the city of Canton made a recommendation to the board to approve a similar ordinance covering all of the county.

A handful of area residents took to the podium to speak in support of the law, all of whom commended the board for being forward thinking and considering such a measure. These individuals included citizens who work with pet charities and rescue missions arguing that this will save more animals in shelters and curb puppy mills. Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood said he appreciated the county considering the law and encouraged its passage. One individual did speak out in opposition, stating that she works with a number of Petland stores throughout the region and wanted to work with the commissioners to amend the ordinance that would allow pet sales in stores, yet stop bad breeders.

Once all public comments had been received and the public hearing was closed, Commissioner Corey Ragsdale made a motion to adopt the ordinance, with Commissioner Benny Carter providing the second and the board unanimously passing the law. When commission Chairman Harry Johnston said the vote was unanimous, supporters of the measure broke out into applause.

The second public hearing involved suggested amendments to the county zoning ordinance. The amendments included adding a new section to the portion on general provisions for zoning, allowing for smaller variances to be decided by the zoning administrator without having to come before the zoning board and adding language clarifying the timeline on appeals. There was no public input received during the hearing, and a motion to approve the amendments passed.

The board also took action on a pair of zoning cases the planning commission had issued recommendations on at its July public hearing meeting. The first case dealt with a request to rezone land on Marble Quarry Road from its current residential designation to one allowing for more density in residential development. The board of commissioners agreed with the planning commission’s recommendation of denial, explaining that the lots, once divided as proposed, would not meet state standards for having homes on a septic system and the nearest sewer lines are not close enough to be easily tied in to.

The developer in the second case, involving rezoning land from agricultural to low-density residential for the development of a subdivision, submitted a letter requesting to have the case withdrawn without prejudice (meaning it could be filed again for consideration in the future), which was approved.

The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners also acted on the following consent agenda items:

♦ The final acceptance of all required items for the Parc at Kellogg and Riverstone Industrial Properties subdivisions

♦ A memorandum of understanding with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security

♦ A zoning notice signage fee and fee schedule

♦ The submission of a federal justice assistant grant program proposal for fiscal year 2019 with a related budget amendment of $10,291, allowing the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office to apply for a Victim of Crime Act grant for $167,245

♦ An agreement with Lux Mitigation and Planning Corp. to complete a five-year update of the Cherokee County Local Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan, was approved

In other business:

♦ The commissioners and those in attendance were reminded of the ceremony scheduled for Thursday morning in memory of former commissioner J.J Biello.

♦ A moment of recognition was held for the lifeguard team from the Cherokee County Aquatic Center for winning big at the recent Georgia Recreation and Park Association State Lifeguard Competition.

♦ The board voted to name Johnston its voting representative for the ACCG (Association of County Commissioners of Georgia) Legislative Agenda and Priorities Meeting on Oct. 2.

♦ Carter announced that local residents Tammy Brewer and Brandi Hackett had been appointed to the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Advisory Committee on Aging.

♦ A motion to approve the latest non-discrimination plan for CATS passed.

♦ A three-year lease renewal with Trinity Presbyterian Church of Free Home for Cherokee Youth Basketball to use its gym space was approved.

♦ A contract was awarded to A1 Contracting, LLC to complete the Copper Creek Drive Sidewalk Project, installing new sidewalks that have been planned for in the past. A1 was the lowest bidder on the project, with a bid of $315,000.

♦ An insurance settlement for a totaled pickup of the public works department in the amount of $25,188 was accepted, while the purchase of a replacement truck was authorized.

♦ A three-year agreement with Praetorian Digital for management software for Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services totaling $77,800 was approved.

♦ A construction services agreement was approved to make emergency repairs to pipes on Mount Vernon Drive after the appearance of a sinkhole at the site created serious issues.

♦ County Attorney Angie Davis reported a settlement agreement had been reached between a handful of parties over a shooting range on Garland Mountain and some of the noise generated by the facility. The range agreed to move several of its stands as part of the agreement, and since the county was named as a party in the lawsuit being settled, the board of commissioners approved the settlement agreement.

The next meeting of the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners will be Aug. 20. The meeting will begin with a work session at 3 p.m., followed by the regular business meeting at 6 p.m.

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