At the most recent public hearing meeting of the Cherokee County Planning Commission, commissioners approved a special-use permit for an event venue.

The special-use permit came from Mark and Jo Hall, who were interested in establishing a special event venue at 300 Ball Field Road in Waleska. County Zoning Manager Michael Chapman said the land is seven acres in total and is zoned agricultural, a classification that allows for special event venues with the issuance of a special-use permit. Jo Hall and her son Lucas explained there was already a house on the site, as well as a barn, that would house the venue. Very little land disturbance had been done on the property and there was plenty of space for parking at the site, they explained.

“We are willing to do whatever the county requires us to do in order to be in compliance,” Lucas Hall said. “We think that it will be an asset to the road, because the road has never had water from the city of Waleksa, and one of the requirements we’re hearing from the fire marshal is that we’ll be required to install a fire hydrant.”

After getting estimates on obtaining and installing a hydrant, he said it would cost approximately $25,000, which is a cost they would be willing to shoulder.

During the public hearing, the only comments came from Ray Elkins, who said his concern about the permit involved parking in the area. Driving down Ball Field Road to get to and from his residence, he said he has seen cars parking on both shoulders of the road when the nearby ballpark is holding events, leaving limited road access. With this in mind, he was concerned about the additional traffic this venue could generate.

Before closing the public hearing, Commission Chairman Bob Whitaker asked about what kind of parking would be offered. Hall responded there would be a gravel lot on site, as well as an overflow parking area in the pasture on the property. Looking at the plans, Commission Member Rick Whiteside asked where, if there are approximately 50 parking spaces in the gravel lot, venue staff and outside vendors such as caterers and entertainment would park. Hall said county engineering staff had requested additional spaces be added, while the overflow parking should be able to handle additional vehicles. Whiteside also asked if events would be held at the venue during the week, with Hall answering their plans were to only have events on the weekend. Whiteside wrapped up his comments by stating his opinion that the application was not adequate and that the planning included with it was insufficient.

Following the closure of the public hearing, a motion to recommend approval of the special-use permit, with parking requirements to be reviewed by the county engineering department, as well as making it concurrent with the ownership, limiting hours of operation between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., limiting to one food truck on site and not allowing parking on Ball Field Road passed in a 6-1 vote, with Whiteside casting the lone dissenting vote.

In other business:

A commercial rezoning request submitted by Abdel Mihyar, asked to have just under half an acre at 5983 Georgia Highway 92 rezoned from residential requiring lots of 20,000 square feet to general commercial for the purpose of placing his upholstery shop at that location. Mihyar’s application included a variance that would allow for parking near the road.

Mihyar said he started his leather repair and upholstery business in 2008 and due to its expansion, would like to set up shop in a dedicated facility, rather than running it out of his home.

Nobody signed up to speak during the public hearing, but the commission members did have a few questions for Mihyar. Commission Chairman Bob Whitaker asked if all that would be done on the site was repair work, both for customers bringing items in and pieces of furniture Mihyar had bought to fix up and sell. Mihyar said he would only be performing repair work on furniture brought in by clients.

“Your parking area is going to be paved, correct?” Commission Member Tom Ware inquired.

Commission Member Lisa Tressler asked, “I just wanted to verify, you’re using the existing building?”

Mihyar answered yes to both of these questions, and with no additional questions from the commission, a motion to recommend approval of the request with the parking variance passed.

In a separate case, Rebecca Hudson came before the commission with an application to have three-quarters of an acre at 1925 Reinhardt College Parkway rezoned from residential requiring lots of 40,000 square feet to neighborhood commercial in order to locate a beauty salon or office on the property.

“It’s my dream to have my own business, and as a hairstylist, turning that into a salon is beneficial for me,” Hudson said.

None of the planning commission members had any questions for her, and nobody had signed up to speak either in favor of or in opposition to the case. A motion to recommend approval of the rezoning passed in a 7-0 vote.

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