The Cherokee County Planning Commission on Monday discussed cases they will consider next month, including a request to open a used car lot along Ga. Highway 92.

An applicant is seeking a special use permit for a used car lot, along with two variances to allow for parking in the front portion of the property and to put up a galvanized metal fence to screen the parking in place of other forms of screening.

The property is located next door to a property that came before the planning commission in October for essentially the same set of requests and received a recommendation for approval that was denied by the board of commissioners in early November. That denial by county commissioners was one point the planning commission brought up during the work session. Because one reason county commissioners cited in denying the previous used car lot involved the overall comprehensive plan for the area, the planning commission discussed what might be looked for in the area, such as significant upgrades in terms of the type of businesses and the overall look of the area. At the same time, planning commissioners discussed that much of the property in the area is leased and speculated that neither leaseholders, nor property owners were motivated to make property improvements. The applicant was present at the work session and said he owns the property and was looking to make improvements and upgrades to the building already on site.

Another item the planning commission wanted to clarify was whether the property was in either the Bells Ferry Overlay District or the Highway 92 Overlay District, with the answer being that it is in the Bells Ferry district.

The final case the planning commission discussed was a request to rezone 35 acres along Elwin Ragsdale Way just north of the Cherokee 75 Corporate Park to a more dense residential zoning classification in order to build 69 single-family houses on the property. Upon reviewing the site, the planning commission was informed that the county engineering department had made a handful of recommendations on improving the road leading to the development. Planning commissioners were told by county staff that the developer had listed a handful of conditions he would be willing to agree to. Planning commissioners also noted that there had once been an industrial plan for the area in question, but that it had not gotten very far, while at the same time, given the location of this potential development, the county would need to consider the Southwest Cherokee area plan when making a decision.

Along with the three cases being discussed, the planning commission heard the latest updates on several of the area plans that have been put in place or are in the process of being developed. Principal Planner Margaret Stallings said that the county is currently working on fully implementing the Southwest Cherokee area plan that was approved earlier this year and that the county is also looking at potentially putting in a connector road between the Bluffs area and the Cherokee County Airport, although some roads near the airport will have to be rerouted once the airport’s project to expand the runway begins. In the Bells Ferry LCI (Livable Centers Initiative) area, Stallings said progress there is really starting to take off. As it is an area with several layers reaching back from Bells Ferry Road, she believed that the first major developments in the LCI district would be residential, which would in turn spur additional developments in other categories as well. Looking ahead, Stallings said the market study is currently underway for the Hickory Flat area plan, and the county is working to begin organizing public meetings for it to be held starting in early 2020, while work is also beginning on the countywide housing study.

The next meeting of the Cherokee County Planning Commission will be its public hearing meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3.

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