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November 14, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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November 14, 2018
 

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Page 6D November 14, 2018 iR orter By Rid rd I n us forsyth@mymcr.net The Monroe County Planning & Zoning Board took no action on Oct. 29 on an engineer's request to relocate a Bolingbroke auto busi- ness to Bolingreen Drive. Steven Rowland of Macon- based Rowland Engineering, representing Unique Auto Sales, asked the P & Z board to re-zone 90.11 acres of a 124-acre tract on Bolingreen Drive from residen- tial to commercial. Rowland also asked for a conditional use variance that would allow Unique Auto Sales to relocate from its cur- rent Rivoli Road address to Bolin- green Drive. Rowland said Unique Auto Sales, whose owner Justin Campbell was in attendance at the meeting, has outgrown its current location and is handicapped by its proximity to a neighboring railroad track. Rowland said Campbell was seeking a new loca- tion that remained near 1-75 and proposed a 25,000 square-foot automobile service facility with a fenced automobile storage parking lot at its rear on Bolingreen Drive. He said the Rivoli Road location would then remain as corporate office space for the company. Rowland said vehicles being shipped south would enter 1-75 at the Pate Road entrance ramp while vehicles headed north would do the same thing but would turn around on Bass Road. Rowland said he was not con- cemed about a heavy increase in traffic on Bass Road because he said a widening of the popular north Macon thoroughfare was on the way. Rowland then joked in reference to a recent Reporter ad about property taxes increasing in Macon-Bibb County and his ear- lier failed attempt to get a variance passed to allow for more homes in a proposed Sanders Road subdivi- sion that he was "trying to bring residents to Monroe County and send tin/tic to Bibb County." Scott Wilson, a broker rep- resenting the tracts owner, the Charles Jones estate, said there are over 500 acres at the site alto- gether and said are already zoned commercial. While Rowland and Wilson were the lone proponents of the project to speak, a number of op- ponents voiced their opinions. Macon-based attomey Collier McKenzie, representing the North Rivoli Farms Homeowners' As- sociation, said he was concemed about the continued growth of Unique Auto Sales. McKenzie said once Campbell relocates to the proposed site, he could easily claim hardship later on should he want to expand his business, saying it would be too difficult to move again. McKenzie also noted that the proposed business would back up to nearby subdivisions Wadley Station and North Rivoli Farms. North Rivoli Farms Drive resi- dent Rahul Vangala said he was worried about the environmental effects of the proposed facility, saying harmful emissions and micropaxtid .uuld ponute the air. Another North Rivoli Farms Drive resident, Frank Casey, said he was concemed about semi- trucks not being able to make the tum from Bolingreen Drive onto Pate Road and then directly onto 1-75 South. Casey labeled the venture "an industrial park project" and suggested Unique Auto Sales find an altemate loca- tion. Pate Road resident Jordan Bumsed said he was worried that truck drivers wouldn't use the preferred routes and would instead cut through residential areas. Bumsed, who' said he's a security advisor for large corpora- tions, said the parking lot would create additional crime and said preventing crime would require "light pollution" at the site. Field Springs Court resident Kerry Howell estimated that 100 tractor-trailers every couple of weeks would visit the business and said the trucks turning out onto Pate Road would create a safety hazard. Wadley Station Lane resident JeffNewsome said he was con- cemed about the proposed facil- ity's dose proximity to Bolingreen Health & Rehabilitation and said the trucks could impede ambu- lances going in and out from the nursing home. Newsorne said he also feared that once the business was built there, it would prevent any future residential growthin the nearby area. When Rowland was given a chance to respond, he said Unique Auto Sales is already generat- ing traffic in Bolingbroke, and a new facility further south would eliminate that problem. He said 100 large trucks getting on and off regularly at an interstate interchange is "not a lot of traffic" and said the fenced-in parking lot would not cause more crime, noting Campbell has "valuable cars to protect." Rowland also said the facility would have a 1,000 foot buffer around it. After about 35 minutes of dis- cussion, P & Z member Jim Rol- lins suggested deferring a decision on the matter until a land use plan was created for the tract. The P & Z board then approved by a 5-0 vote not to make a recommenda- tion to Monroe County Commis- sioners, a decision that appeared to displease many opponents of the project. By Richard Dumas forsyth@mymcr.net The Monroe County Planning & Zoning Board denied on Oct. 29 a request by a developer for a vari- ance that would decrease lot sizes in a proposed subdivi- sion at the intersection of Hwy. 41 South and Sanders Road. Steven Rowland of Macon-based Rowland Engineering, representing Three Oaks Construction & Development and New At- lantic Realty, asked for the P & Z board to wave county subdivision requirements for the 105.49-acre tract that require one-acre lots and no less than 150-feet in width. Rowland requested lot sizes to be as small as 0.6 acres and 110-feet in width. Rowland also asked that cul-de-sacs within the subdivision be allowed a minimum paved radius of 48 feet and a right-of-way of 65 feet as required by the International Fire Code. The county currently re- quires a paved radius of 60 feet and a right-of-way of 75 feet for cul-de-sacs. Rowland said, ffthe vari- ance request was approved, the proposed subdivision would have 98 available lots of which 55 would be .6-acre tracts. Rowland, who noted that 33 of 43 lots in the initial phase of nearby Glen Merry subdivi- sion were tracts that were less than one acre in size, said the site would only have about 70 to 75 homes if his variance request was denied. A number of nearby residents opposed Row- land's request, starting with Sanders Road resident David Rowntree. Rowntree, whose property borders the back comer of the proposed subdivision, said he was concerned about having so many homes on a 105-acre tract. He said his home is located in a much more low-lying area than the proposed subdivision and said he was worried about run-offonto his property. He said a proposed hold- ing pond would be right next door to his home and said he was also concerned about traffic created by the project. Rowntree said, "I don't think the ordinances need to be changed for someone to make a little bit of extra mone) ' Macon-based attorney Collier McKenzie told the P & Z board he was representing the North Rivoli Farms Homeowners Association as well as some residents of Glen Merry. McKenzie said allowing a variance for smaller lots would set a bad precedent and said Rowland had not shown any "unnecessary hardship" that would merit granting a variance. HvW. 41 South resident Randall Woodard said he too was opposed, noting that granite was located just a foot below the surface in the area. Another Hwy. 41 South resident Justin Jer- emias said his family moved to the area because of the wooded home aesthetics and didn't think cutting down trees to build more homes in the proposed subdivision fit the look of the surrounding homes. Field Springs Court resi- dent Kerry Howell said the variance request was only a "moneymaking venture" Howell said nearby home- owners represent a large tax base to Monroe County as well and said he was espe- cially appalled by an earlier claim made by Rowland that curbs and gutters could be left out of the subdivi- sion if the variance request was denied. When Rowland was given a chance to respond, the en- gineer said detention ponds are put in place to protect downstream properties like Rowntree's, adding that the proposed ponds would be dry with no standing water. He also said the subdivision would be built under all county and state require- ments and said the subdivi- sion would be maintained by a homeowner's associa- tion. Rowland added that the unnecessary hardship that caused a variance to be necessary is the subdivi- sion's being split by Sanders Road, which caused gas and power lines easements to bi-sect the tract. Matt Gilbert of Three Oaks Construction & Development then asked to speak, saying his com- pany was not trying to be divisive for the surrounding neighbors. He said the pro- posed homes will be sold at prices ranging from the high $300,000s to the low $400,000s. Gilbert said he's not a "greedy developer" as opponents had labeled him and said Howell, an attor- ney by trade, liad "sensa- tionalized" the effects of the variance request. Gilbert also said internet provider Hargray Communications could provide high-speed internet in the area if98 homes were approved for the site. That claim didn't impress many of the op- ponents with North Rivoli Farms Drive resident Frank Casey saying Forsyth Cablenet will begin servic- ing North Rivoli Farms and Glen Merry starting later this week. Jennings Lane resident Wendell Home then asked attendees for a show of hands of how many people opposed the re-zoning, and nearly 100 people or most of the persons in the room raised their hands. After about 45 minutes of discussion, P & Z member Chuck Benson then mo- tioned to deny Rowland's request, which was second- ed by Michael Brewster. The P & Z board then approve& to deny the variance reques by a unanimous 5-0 vote By Richard Dumas forsyth@mymcr.net The Monroe County Planning & Zoning Board denied on Oct. 29 a request by a McDonough man to build an RV (Recreational Vehicle) park at the corner of High Falls and Buck Creek roads. Brian Marshburn applied to re-zone a 15.29-acre tract from commercial to a manufactured home district for the purpose of operating a campground. Marshbum also asked for a variance because the county ordinance requires a tract to be at least 25 acres in order to have a camp- ground. Marshburn told the P & Z board his proposed facil- ity, which he said would cater to larger, luxury RVs, would have between 69 and 89 pull-through spaces as well as 18 to 19 cabins. He said the facility would have an on-site manager and a full-time employee during the day. Marshburn told the P & Z board he also has a contract to buy the High Falls Hideaway motel prop- erty, and the same manager would run both facilities. While Marshburn was the lone attendee in favor of his proposal, numerous High Falls residents turned out to oppose the project: Buck Creek Road resident Anthony White said Buck Creek Road can't handle increased traffic and added that he was concerned about visitors living at the park instead of just passing-through as Marsh- burn said it was intended to occur. White also noted Marshburn wouldn't be at the site to ensure it was be- ing run effectively. "We live here. You don't" White said matter-of-factly. Boxanlde Road resident Jan Knecht told the P & Z board that a similar pro- posal to put a campground at that site was rejected by the county a decade ago. Buck Creek Road resident Brenda Lee, whose property is adjacent to the proposed project site, said High Falls already has several campgrounds and said that the High Falls Hideaway property already brings "riffraff" to the area. Lee urged the county to clean up High Falls, saying the county's code enforce- ment officer "needs to be fired." "They're not doing their job" Lee said. Buck Creek Road resident Michael Smith noted Marshburn's envi- ronmental plans for the site were a decade old and said a re-zoning to a manu- factured home district would make it possible for permanent mobile homes to be put there and not just travel trailers. Smith said he wanted an updated environmental plan done before the P & Z board considers approving the measure. Buck Creek Road residents Robert and Irene Muckenfuss said they're concerned about water runoff from the proposed facility coming onto their nearby property. Irene Muckenfuss added that she feared the project would be detrimental to her property value. Steve and Susan Wade, who own an adjacent RV park, said they weren't aware of a plan for fenc- ing or for a retention pond at the site and said their own park often becomes flooded after heavy rains. Steve Wade said he's also worried about crime stem- ming from the proposed park, saying it takes he and his wife living at their park full-time to keep order. Jimmy Wade, the land manager for the Har- din, Newton and Wright families, who own a nearby tract, said he had no issue with Marshburn's business plan but said he was concerned about the location. He said the number of proposed units and sewage resulting from it seemed more than a 15-acre tract could handle. Bill Hardin, who owns an adjacent tract, said he flew in from Houston to oppose the campground and said there's too much granite under the surface because of the dose proximity to the 1-75 interchange. South Lee Street resident Mary Aiken Wright, another nearby landowner, said she i too opposed the project. When Marshburn was given a chance to rebut his neighbors' complaints, he noted his proposed i campground is right next to High Falls Park, a major recreational area. He said he plans to do updated soil testing at the site to ensure its safe to build there and said he didn't want to spend thousands of dollars on engineering if. his proposal was rejected. Monroe County zoning officer Anita Buice noted it's county policy not to require soil and septic stud- ies until after approval is granted and noted the state would regulate environ- mental issues. After about 45 minutes of discussion, P & Z member Michael Brewster mo- tioned to deny the request,' and the motion was sec- : onded by Chuck Benson. The P& Z board then cast a unanimous 5-0 vote to deny Marshbum's rezoning request.