The Cherokee County Planning Commission voted to recommend denial of plans a 130,000 square foot warehouse along Old Alabama Road.

The case involved Atwell, LLC, which was asking for a rezoning of 22.25 acres at 6073 Old Alabama Highway from residential requiring lots of 40,000 square feet to light industrial for the development of a warehouse facility.

Planning Commissioner Rick Whiteside said Old Alabama Road was one of the key points and felt the application as it had come before the planning commission could have had more detail and done more to address area residents’ concerns. While saying she likes seeing business and economic growth coming to the county, Lisa Tressler said one of her biggest concerns was the noise coming from at least 30 truck bays on the building.

“I can’t ignore the fact that 30 people attended the information meeting, and all 30 were in opposition to this,” Ware said.

Lee Lusk said he understood many of the concerns, but also felt that a majority of them would be addressed through the detailed engineering reports. He pointed out that the Yanmar/EVO Center also has its main access directly off Old Alabama Road, wrapping up his comments by explaining he felt this would be a better use of the property than something like a residential subdivision.

“I know this is set up for (light industrial use), but this particular plan to me doesn’t fit there, so I’m not going to be able to support it,” Richard Weatherby said before making a motion to recommend denial. The motion passed in a 6-3 vote, with Lusk, Hill and Commission Chair Bob Whitaker opposing the motion.

An earlier case to come before the planning commission was a request to have property at 6126 Union Hill Road rezoned to agricultural from residential requiring lots of 80,000 square feet for the purpose of allowing general agricultural practices like hay production and storage on the land.

The property owner, Corey Nibert, said he had submitted this request to the county in the hopes of finding a renter, while also giving him the freedom to do more than what is allowed under its current residential zoning, including the construction of a pole barn.

“I’m aware that I can seek a variance to construct the barn under R-80, but if I lose or change renters, I don’t want to come back for another variance if the new renters want three horses and three goats, or a chicken house when they can’t have more than three buildings or one animal per acre under R-80,” Nibert said.

Three people spoke out against the potential rezoning. Hugh Watkins said he felt R-80 was the proper zoning for the area, as it felt rural, yet residential. He was also concerned about potential noise and traffic an agricultural use could generate, which could also negatively impact surrounding property values. Andrew Lawandales said some of the land clearing and grading work for the pole barn created a runoff issue on his property.

The commission members followed these comments up with questions of their own. Whiteside asked how big the pole barn was, with Nibert responding with 36 feet by 48 feet and 24 feet in height.

“How many acres have you graded?,” Commission Member Marla Doss asked.

Nibert responded he believed it was around 3 acres and that he had not obtained a grading permit for this, as he had never exposed more than an acre at a time during the process.

During additional discussion, Commission Member Tom Hill said he felt this could be considered spot zoning and would be unable to support the application. Hill’s comments were followed by a motion to recommend denial of the application, which was approved in a 9-0 vote.

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