The Cherokee County Planning Commission held public hearings last week on five zoning cases and approved subsequent recommendations for the board of commissioners.

The first case involved a special-use permit for a parcel of land on Cumming Highway to allow the applicant to sell commercial trucks. The applicants requested a postponement on the matter until October, which the planning commission agreed to.

Next planning commissioners conducted a hearing on a rezoning request for 28.61 acres of land on Cumming Highway near Buffington Church, switching the land from an agricultural and rural residential zoning to one allowing for an attached housing development geared to people 55 and older. The Orchards Group, was seeking the rezoning to develop its third such community in Cherokee County. Plans showed that the community would have 98 attached units and 12 detached units at the rear of the development. Developers said there would be little if any impact on the school system, residents would not be taking to the roads at peak traffic hours and the quality of the homes would improve property values in the area. In response to some of the questions raised by the members of the planning commission, the applicant stated that there would be a landscape buffer between residences on the east side of the property and Jordan Lane, there would also be a buffer at the rear of the subdivision to better separate it from another residential community.

Some planning commission members expressed concerns. Planning Commissioner Tom Hill said he felt unable to support the project because it was too dense for the zoning category applied for. Planning commissioner Tom Ware said it is the planning commission’s responsibility to protect the county’s land use plan. Planning commissioners voted to recommend denial of the plan.

The final rezoning case also involved land on Cumming Highway, this time a parcel of property directly south of Cherokee Veterans Park. Currently zoned as rural residential, the applicant, Cumming Highway Storage, was requesting the land be converted to general commercial for the development of a self-storage facility and outparcel for retail or commercial use.

The applicant explained during the public hearing that the property has been for sale for several years and, when factoring in the growth of Ga. Highway 20 the plans would be a good and effective use of the property. When the storage center’s office space and the outparcel building are completed, the applicant explained both buildings would have an attractive façade and would hide the metal storage units behind them.

Commission member Scott Barnes asked what specifically would be going into the outparcel facility, to which the applicant replied it would be left open for future demand. The applicant said he would be willing to accept limits on uses to the outparcel and other restrictions. With all of these conditions in place, the planning commission approved a motion to recommend approval of the rezoning to the board of commissioners.

The fourth case involved a proposed used car lot for Holly Springs Parkway. The land is already zoned as general commercial, but the applicant was seeking a special-use permit. The applicant said the lot would deal primarily in internet-based sales and would see customers by appointment only between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Barnes asked if there would be mechanics on site and how vehicles would be delivered, to which the applicant responded there would not be mechanics and the cars would be driven onto the lot individually. The applicant stated there would be around eight cars at most on the lot at any given time, which included his and his customer’s vehicles. When Lisa Tressler asked if he would be fine with having a limit of 10 cars for sale on the lot at a time, the applicant agreed. A subsequent motion to recommend approval for the special use permit that included the conditions of a maximum of 10 cars for sale at a time, specifically limiting hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and that the permit would revert back if the lot was abandoned was approved.

The final public hearing involved a special-use permit for land at the intersection of Ga. Highway 92 and Bates Lane in the southwest portion of the county for the construction of an automotive body shop. This request also contained a concurrent variance to the Bells Ferry Community Design Guidelines to allow for parking closer to the highway, rather than further back on the lot. The applicant, Foresite Group, explained the reason it was seeking to place parking in the front and middle lot layers was due to the site’s topography, but an overwhelming majority of the spaces would be hidden behind a gate and a year-round screen, such as evergreen plants. The applicant also said the building would primarily have a brick and glass façade, and that the shop’s bay doors would remain closed when a vehicle was not being moved in or out of the building to reduce any potential noise or smell issues. A motion to recommend approval of this special-use permit passed, with the stipulations of keeping the bay doors closed and a year-round screen on the site included in the motion.

The next meeting of the Cherokee County Planning Commission will be its regular work session at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 16.

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