The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners approved the modification of a development’s zoning conditions and the reestablishment of a non-conforming use property following public hearings at its most recent meeting.
The first hearing involved a request submitted by H. Michael Bray on behalf of Woodall Communities to have a pair of zoning conditions attached to a proposed development be removed. County Zoning Manager Michael Chapman said the property at 3341 Land Road, had been rezoned for a mixture of residential and commercial development in 2005. When the land was rezoned, Chapman said four conditions had been attached, specifically that the developer would have a traffic signal installed at the intersection of Land Road and Upper Burris Road/Lower Burris Road, no auto body shops or mini-warehouses would be allowed, sidewalks on both the north and south side of Land Road would be installed and a 50-foot buffer would be required around the entire development’s perimeter. The application Bray submitted asked for the traffic signal and sidewalk conditions be removed. During his presentation to the board, Bray said the only portion of the land his client was developing was the area zoned for residential development, located on the west side of the portion zoned for commercial development and away from the intersection.
“In the previous development, there was going to be about 31-plus lots here, and I guess the idea was to tie sidewalks down to this commercial,” Bray said. “The project we are going to have is only 13 lots on this parcel on, I’m going to call it the south side of Land Road.”
Bray said both the fewer number of lots and their location away from the intersection meant they would not play enough of a significant traffic-related role to warrant the development of a signal at the intersection.
No residents signed up to speak on the matter during the public hearing, and once the hearing was closed, the commissioners rendered their decision. Commissioner Steve West made a motion to approve removing the two conditions as they specifically related to the residential development, which was seconded by Commissioner Raymond Gunnin and approved in a unanimous vote of the board.
Following this, the board then heard a request filed by J. Christopher Geiger to reestablish a non-conforming use lot at 7286 Georgia Highway 92 that had been used for used car sales. Chapman said car sales at that location had begun around 1995 and would have been a permitted use for the property at that time. The applicant was not present at the meeting, and the only person signed up to speak on the matter was James Tanner, a neighboring property owner.
“There’s a 40-foot buffer zone between me and that area,” Tanner said. “The people that’s been there before were supposed to maintain that buffer zone, to keep the privacy of trees there so I have my privacy. That’s what I’m here for, make sure it stays the same as it always has been.”
Commission Chairman Harry Johnston asked Chapman if there was anything in the application that would affect the buffers in any way, with Chapman responding nothing regarding buffers was contained in the application.
Once the public hearing on the case was closed, the board was ready to move forward with making a decision.
“It is kind of unusual that the applicant isn’t here. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a case where that’s happened,” Commissioner Corey Ragsdale said. “I’m definitely not in favor of used car lots on Highway 92. There’s a lot of them. However, this particular site, that’s really all it has ever been. When you drive by it, these two lots look like one, and right now, it looks like a giant empty lot. I don’t know what else you would do with it.”
Ragsdale then made a motion to approve reinstating the nonconforming use for the site, which was seconded by West and unanimously approved by the board.