Three cases came before the Cherokee County Planning Commission at its monthly public hearing meeting, with the commission taking action and submitting a recommendation to the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners on two of the three.

After being remanded back to the planning commission by the board of commissioners, the planning commission held a second public hearing on a request from CNW Holdings, Inc., asking to have 240 acres of land on Mount Carmel Church Lane rezoned from agricultural to R-60, amending the original application requesting a rezoning to R-40. The amended application also included a pair of variance requests, asking for a reduction in the setback on the side of each lot and on the minimum lot width, but representatives for the applicant said they were no longer requesting these variances. The representatives argued that R-60 in the area was consistent with the county’s comprehensive plan, the development would contain significant greenspace and there would be a good deal of flexibility by going for an R-60 zoning. They also mentioned how soil tests showed the ground conditions were adequate to have on-site sewer, additional buffers would be added after having community meetings with a subdivision next door and not building driveways that would have cars pulling immediately on to or off of Mount Carmel Church Lane would help some of the traffic situation.

Three residents of Mount Carmel Church Lane voiced their concerns and opposition to the plan, all of which centered on a few key issues. One of the residents said he lives next door to where the development would be built and explained this would alter Little Shoals Creek, as well as causing stormwater to divert onto his property. A second resident said the development would burden the county school system and, comparing the original proposed side by side with the amended proposal, it was hard to see any major difference between the two. Those who spoke in opposition all mentioned concerns about increased traffic.

Responding to these claims, CNW’s representatives said they understood the concerns shared by nearby residents, but also said they felt their plans met the requirements for their request to be approved.

Reviewing all of the information, the planning commission expressed some of the same concerns as those who live on the road, while bringing up additional matters, including how the development seems inconsistent with the rural area around it. Commission member Rick Whiteside mentioned the issue of having stormwater retention ponds on people’s lots rather than in a more communal area, while any expansion of Mount Carmel Church Road would put the right of way, and possibly even a portion of the road itself, overlapping with an access road that would essentially serve as a driveway for a handful of homes in the development. With all of this in mind, the planning commission voted to recommend denial of the rezoning, with member Tom Ware providing the lone dissenting vote.

The planning commission also held a public hearing for a parcel of land on Marble Quarry Road next to Interstate 575. The applicant in this case, Noah Sanders, was requesting to rezone just over one acre of land from R-40 to R-20 in order to split the property and allow for a second house to be built on the site. The house currently on the parcel of land is served by a septic tank, but should the plan go forward, the new house would have to be tied into a sewer line, as the divided parcel would not be large enough to meet environmental standards on having a septic tank. The commission asked Sanders if he had heard anything definitive on when the area might be tied into a nearby sewer line, to which he responded he had not. Following the public hearing, the planning commission voted to recommend denial of the rezoning, although commission chair Bob Whitaker suggested to Sanders that he weigh his options and potentially consider withdrawing the application until it can be confirmed when sewer could be installed to service the property.

The applicant in the third case, regarding a special use permit for land on Cumming Highway to allow for the sale of commercial trucks, requested and received a 60-day postponement on the case.

The next meeting of the Cherokee County Planning Commission will be its monthly work session at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 15.

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