At the most recent Cherokee County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board held a public hearing regarding the potential modification of zoning conditions for a proposed East Cherokee Drive development.

County Zoning Manager Michael Chapman explained these modification requests came from Glenridge Development, which was looking to develop property at 2875 East Cherokee Drive, a parcel of land southwest of the intersection with Hickory Flat Highway. When the land was rezoned in 2007, Chapman explained there had been a handful of conditions attached to it, including that an eight-foot high wall to be clad in brick or stone would need to be built between the site and the neighboring Hickory Plantation subdivision, hotels or motels would not be allowed on the property and pole-mounted lights would have to be installed in such a way they would not become a nuisance to surrounding properties.

Addressing some of the items covered in the request, Brandon Bowen, who was representing the developers, said there was a concern about disturbing too much vegetation in order to install a brick wall. Initially, he said the developer had looked at constructing a wooden fence with brick columns, but eventually came to a solution that could be more acceptable to everyone.

“One of the members of the neighborhood actually suggested a product called painted concrete panels,” Bowen said. “We investigated that ... and it looks like that is a viable solution for the property. It would still be a masonry wall, but it does not require a continuous footing.”

Bowen then went on to say the developer would be willing to narrow the request being submitted to the county, primarily focusing on asking to have the painted concrete panels be allowed in place of a brick or stone wall, while also allowing for a period of 24 months to get the wall installed.

Residents from Hickory Plantation expressed approval of the concrete wall, but were concerned about the two-year timeline to put it up.

“Is that negotiable? Do you think you have the authority to agree to a faster timetable than 24 months?,” commission Chairman Harry Johnston then asked Bowen.

Bowen said he wasn’t empowered to promise a shorter timeline, but did say if the company moved forward on getting a permit to begin site preparation, it would accelerate the installation of the wall.

Once the commissioners had concluded their discussion, a motion was put forth to allow for the wall to be built out of pre-cast concrete, replacing the office/institutional zoning with neighborhood commercial and requiring the wall be built within 12 months. However, because Bowen was unable to commit on the timetable, the initial motion was withdrawn and a new motion to table the matter until the next board meeting was made. This new motion passed in a unanimous vote of the board.

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