STATE OF GEORGIA
COUNTY OF HENRY
The Henry County Board of Commissioners held a regular public meeting at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 18, 2004, in the Community Room, County Administration Building, 140 Henry Parkway, McDonough, Georgia. Notice of this meeting was posted on the bulletin board in the entrance foyer of the County Administration Building. The Daily Herald was notified of this meeting. Those present were:
Leland Maddox, Chairman
Lee Holman, Vice-Chairman/District V Commissioner
Warren E. Holder, District I Commissioner
Gary M. Freedman, District II Commissioner
Jason T. Harper, District III Commissioner
Gerry Adams, District IV Commissioner
Linda G. Angus, County Manager; Patrick Jaugstetter, County Attorney; Susan B. Craig, County Clerk; Peggy L. Malcolm, Deputy County Clerk; Rob Magnaghi, Deputy County Manager/Public Safety Division Director; Danny Taylor, Economic Division Director; and others.
Chairman Maddox called the meeting to order. He congratulated Commissioner Holder on the birth of his third grandchild on Saturday evening.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to accept the agenda, with the following minor changes: (amended 5/11/04, 3:21 p.m. agenda)
1. Item X. – Remove approval of May 11, 2004, minutes;
2. Item X.B. – change 5/20/04 (Wednesday) to 5/20/04 (Thursday).
Commissioner Adams seconded.
Commissioner Freedman requested approval of minutes for meetings held on May 4, 2004, and May 6, 2004, be removed from the agenda.
Commissioner Holman amended his motion to postpone adopting the May 4 and May 6, 2004, minutes; Commissioner Adams seconded the amended motion.
The motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor.
PROCLAMATION IN APPRECIATION OF HENRY COUNTY CITIZENS FOR THEIR INTEREST IN AND INVOLVEMENT WITH THEIR COUNTY GOVERNMENT:
Ms. Julie Hoover-Ernst, Community Relations Specialist, stated in honor of National County Government Week, which was April 18 through 24, an on-line contest was held on the County’s website entitled “Who Knows Henry.” She thanked Bistro 41, Truman’s Restaurant and Up The Creek Restaurant for donating prizes which were in the form of gift certificates for each of the three winners. Ms. Ernst stated the contest asked questions about the County’s parks, the Department of Transportation, stormwater pollution, senior services and many other important government programs. She stated more than 50 citizens took the time to research the answers to the ten questions in the quiz, which required visiting at least ten different departmental web pages. Ms. Ernst noted the contest provided an extraordinary opportunity to educate citizens about all the wonderful programs and services the County provides on a daily basis in a fun, inviting and cost-effective format. She said of the 52 entries received, 19 were 100% correct, and it was from those 19 entries that the three winning entries were chosen. She presented the winners with a proclamation certificate and prize, as follows:
1. Benjamin Yu
2. Donivan Aaron
3. Brent Atwood
HENRY COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION BOND ISSUE
Mr. A.J. Welch, Jr., Attorney for the Henry County Board of Education, appeared before the Board concerning the Board of Education’s GEO bond issue. He asked the Board to adopt a resolution authorizing the levy of the necessary tax to pay for the GEO bonds, which were approved by the voters in March. He stated the bonds have been sold. Commissioner Harper made a motion to approve the resolution for the bond issue as presented; Commissioner Holder seconded.
Commissioner Holder asked Mr. Jaugstetter if everything is in order. Mr. Jaugstetter answered affirmatively. Commissioner Harper’s motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor.
REZONING REQUEST – WRL ASSOCIATES III, INC. – RZ-03-59
Mr. Ray Gibson, Planner, announced the rezoning request of “WRL Associates III, Inc., for rezoning from RA (Residential Agricultural) to C-2 (General Commercial) for property located at the southeast corner of the Jonesboro Road and Chambers Road intersection in Land Lot 109 of the 6th District. The property consists of 23.5 +/- acres and the request is for the development of a commercial/retail center. Municipal Planning Commission recommended denial March 11, 2004.”
Chairman Maddox read the resolution included in the Board of Commissioners’ agenda package.
Mr. A.J. Welch, III, Attorney, appeared before the Board on behalf of WRL Associates III, Inc. He made the following statement:
“Tonight we have to present before the Board of Commissioners a request for rezoning of the property located at the corner of Chambers Road and Jonesboro Road. This is on the southeast corner.”
Mr. Welch displayed a site plan of the property on the overhead projector. He stated “the request is to rezone the property from RA to C-2. It consists of 23.5 acres and the purpose of the potential use of this is to put a shopping center on the property with three out-parcels. The total square footage of the shopping center will be 124,000 square feet with a 70,000 square foot anchor store. That’s the proposed use, leaving 54,000 square feet and the remainder stalls on the main building. I’ll show you that on the overhead, as well.”
Commissioner Holman asked Mr. Welch to restate the acreage of this tract. Mr. Welch responded “23.5 acres.” He displayed the concept plan that has been submitted with this rezoning request.
Mr. Welch continued, “There are a few points I’d like to mention. Before the Board of Commissioners is the process that the County has for rezoning, which involves going before the Planning Commission. Through that process we’ve heard from members of the public who expressed concerns over the intersection of Jonesboro Road and Chambers Road. Specifically the traffic impacts that are currently there and the actions taken by the County to remedy those impacts. The applicant has considered those impacts and is willing to work towards a condition that would address these impacts in particular, and I have these listed out in written-out form, but just briefly summarizing those conditions, on this piece of property, the applicant is willing to withhold, or be subject to a condition that would withhold issuance of COs on the property for a period of 18 months. The reason for doing this is that the SPLOST plan has a light slated for this particular intersection that will alleviate a lot of the traffic problems that are there, but until that light is in place, there are some concerns that a commercial venture, such as this, would create a lot of traffic for the intersection. The applicant realizes that’s a potential problem, wishes to resolve that problem, and one measure of doing that is to limit the COs that would be issued until such time as the light should be completed. We’re anticipating the light should be completed within a year to eighteen (18) months and that’s something that we are willing to work towards to address the community’s concerns that were expressed in the Planning and Zoning Commission hearing.”
Mr. Welch stated “the other thing that we’re aware of is that not only do you have traffic concerns, but you also have issues of right-of-way and we’ve explored ways to address that and we think we have some proposals that will help alleviate those additional traffic concerns. I’m not sure if you’d like me to discuss those now or allow for Planning staff to give you a review of the request for rezoning.”
Mr. Gibson stated “initially the Planning staff had recommended denial of this application request based on the fact it did not meet the intent of the future Land Use Map.” He said “we noted in our report the SPLOST signalization and turn-lane construction at the corner of Jonesboro and Chambers Road, as well. As you already know and you are aware of is that First State Bank has contributed some funds toward that signalization.”
Chairman Maddox asked for a show of hands of citizens who are opposed to this request. Approximately 12 people held up their hands. He told the audience the opposition has 15 minutes to address the Board.
Ms. Judy Barker, 211 Edna Ruth Lane, addressed the Board, as follows:
“My name is Judy Barker. I live at Chambers Crossing at 211 Edna Ruth Lane. I have been a resident of this County for 17 years.
“The corner of Jonesboro Road and Chambers Road is not suitable for a C-2 zoning of this size. Both roads at this intersection are two lanes and there is no signalization at this corner. The County Land Use Plan does not show this area to be commercial. The future Land Use Plan is not yet completed and finished and cannot be used for this zoning. On March 2, 2004, I attended a Board of Commissioners’ meeting in which a request for approval of an ordinance for the purpose of adopting a revised version of the Henry County future Land Use Map, originally adopted by the Board of Commissioners on December 19, 2002, was brought before the Board. This was a ploy to change the zoning on that portion of Jonesboro Road from I-75 west to Chambers Road to commercial. At that time the issue was tabled due to the fact that this could not be done without authorization from the ARC.
“My question is, why is this rezoning being brought before the Board at this time. Why has it not been tabled until the Land Use Plan is adopted. If we’re not going to use the Land Use Plan and advice of the Planners, why are we spending the money for this plan? For those of us who have been involved in attending one of the 20 plus workshops and giving input of how we would like to see the County grow, it appears that our opinions do not matter. You are considering rezoning a strategic corner of the Jonesboro Road/Chambers Road area. Why would we even consider changing this rezoning before the Land Use Plan is adopted? We are talking about a matter of months. What is the hurry? This property was advertised for rezoning originally in December of 2003 and then was withdrawn and tabled at the applicant’s request.
“There is a gas station across the street that was zoned commercial several years ago. At the time this was done there was nothing along Jonesboro Road except for residential-agricultural until you went east across I-75 to the truck stop. Several conditions were made on this property, including low lighting and the materials for construction, which is stacked stone. This gas station was done very well and fits in and is unobtrusive and blends in to the neighborhood.
“When Henry Town Center was constructed there were again many conditions placed on this property. The area was very nicely constructed with a lot of attention to detail in keeping with the surrounding areas. The infrastructure was also put in place with a four-lane road to handle the traffic in the area. Placement next to the Interstate was ideal. As you go west on Jonesboro Road towards Lovejoy, there is a natural break, an obvious line where the commercial ends and the residential begins. Where Jonesboro Road goes from four lanes to two lanes, the area goes from high, bright security lighting to low lighting, if any, and shopping and eating areas to residential subdivisions and farm agricultural areas.
“HDR Engineering, Inc., whom you, the Commissioners, have retained to draw up a County Land Use Plan, looks for logical stopping points for commercial in these areas where the commercial has already begun. They realize and are trying to help us define the areas to help transition the commercial to the residential. Henry County is not in need of more commercial area. We have several areas that will be becoming commercial according to the Land Use Plan. One area in point would be Jonesboro Road going east towards McDonough where the process has already begun to widen to four lanes this part of the road. Commercial development in this area is appropriate.
“The Jonesboro Road/Chambers Road area is and should remain a transitional area from the commercial of Kaiser Permanente and Henry Town Center to the residential subdivisions of Oak Grove and Thornberry. There is a logical stopping point for the commercial at this time on Jonesboro Road. The church, the McDonough Christian Church, and Tim Jones Properties have both stated in writing that they are planning to request a change from commercial to O & I on this part of Jonesboro Road. The northwest corner of this intersection is already zoned O & I for a bank. The commercial that is at this corner is extremely small and has been done with neighborhood-friendly construction.
“We understand that the Chaffins have a right to do as they wish with their property, but I would hope that we would be able to reach a friendly compromise. The Chaffins will realize a profit from their property no matter what the rezoning. Where will the commercial stop? I would maintain that once the commercial zoning is given on this property, you will have a rezoning request from the remaining Chaffin properties to the west of Chambers Road. They will all insist upon commercial zoning since their property adjoins this commercial property. This will truly be a domino effect. There is no real need for commercial zoning in this direction.
“What we would like to see is quality growth rezoning. Something that will fit the nature of the area and make Henry County look beautiful. We want the obvious and logical line of transition from commercial to residential to be the narrowing of Jonesboro Road from four lanes to two lanes, which is at Mount Olive Road. We would like to see neighborhood friendly businesses in this transition area. The Land Use Plan is showing a shortage of O & I in Henry County at this time. It would be a great compromise to have businesses with day time hours and not such heavy traffic congestion in this area. It would be services that people in the area would use, such as doctors, lawyers, and accounting offices. There would be low lighting, and the accessibility to the Interstate would be a plus. This would also bring professional, higher income/high tech jobs which are much needed in the County. We would like to come to a friendly compromise on this issue. If you are inclined to rezone this to commercial, we ask that you table this until the Land Use Plan is adopted. We believe that rezoning the property as requested would constitute a violation of our Constitutional rights, specifically such rezoning would violate the due process, equal protection clauses of the United States and Georgia Constitutions and would be arbitrary and capricious and result in a taking of our property rights without compensation. Thank you.”
Mr. John Crisler, 915 Chambers Road, made the following statement:
“My name is John Crisler and I live at 915 Chambers Road, McDonough, and I’ve been there for over 21 years. I’d like to second everything this lady just said; she said more than I could stand up here and speak to. I would just like to suggest that this decision is tabled until the last Land Use Plan is completely through and that we consider transition to perhaps OI or residential due to the traffic pollution and make sure there is adequate buffer area between the Land Use Plan, what is called for and the residences.
Mr. Welch stated the “Board of Commissioners should be aware that the properties located at this location here are zoned commercial. The lighter red is C-1; the property located here is zoned C-2, which is Mutt Starr’s property; these are the properties located. . .” Commissioner Adams asked Mr. Welch to show him where Chambers Road is on the map. Mr. Welch went over the map of the subject area and indicated where commercial zoning exists.
Mr. Welch stated “the area is and has been emerging commercial for some time and this is consistent with that trend out Jonesboro Road to the Chambers intersection. In addressing the question about tabling this matter, something the first speaker said, was that the application was withdrawn at some point. That’s not true; the application was filed and it was scheduled to be heard at the Planning Commission in December. We asked to have that moved due to conflict and that application has never been withdrawn. The application has vested rights in it to be heard under the existing Land Use Map and that’s the basis of the decision on this particular rezoning. The other Land Use Map has not been adopted and has not followed through with the due process and notice procedures that are required by State law and under the Constitution. Those are two major points that I wanted to bring to light, but most importantly, that this area is and has been emerging commercial and she mentioned several times that there needs to be some negotiation; there needs to be some kind of compromise; we need to bring in O & I to this area; and I think when we turn to the next rezoning request, the Chaffins have considered this request; they attended a public hearing that dealt with a variety of matters that included this one. They listened to their neighbors; they listened to people speak about this and their request for O & I to minimize the impacts of traffic on Chambers Road and they responded. We’ll address that at the next rezoning that’s on the agenda tonight.”
Mr. Welch continued “So there has been some significant willingness on the part of the applicant for this particular zoning, as well as the property owners to work with the community and address those concerns. If I might, I’d also, if you have questions I’ll be able to address them, but I would like at some point to go through a list of conditions that the applicant would like to propose to the Board of Commissioners for this property.”
Commissioner Holman asked whether the list of conditions originated from Mr. Welch. Mr. Welch answered affirmatively.
Mr. Welch stated “We’ve submitted, prior to this meeting for your review, two sets of conditions. One set is for the rezoning that follows, that is RZ-03-60, and before you right now you have RZ-03-59. This is a two page document there. . . These are the conditions that I was referring to and I am happy to read those out to the public and hopefully that will address many of their concerns.”
Mr. Welch stated “staff has recommended six conditions as part of their report. I have taken the liberty of redrafting these a bit and adding a few that, in my discussions, I think, address some concerns that various people had about this project.”
1. Should WRL Associates III, Inc., or any other subsequent purchaser, acquire the subject property and install parking facilities, said subsequent land owner shall increase the width of the parking spaces from eight and one-half feet (8½’) width required under the Henry County Zoning Ordinance to a minimum of nine feet (9’) in width.
2. The subject property shall allow for vehicle interconnectivity (this is a Planning staff condition), through a sixty foot (60’) wide easement where depicted on the conceptual site plan, to serve as access to Jonesboro Road for the property adjacent to and to the south of the subject property consisting of approximately 10.7 acres. Should said property adjacent and to the south of the subject property not be rezoned for commercial or office/institutional uses, this condition would be null and void.
3. All exterior lighting shall be of moderate brightness and downcast. (Planning staff recommendation)
4. The primary structure shall be constructed of brick siding with designed block, glass, stone, stucco, masonry board, and/or wood siding accents. Vinyl may be used in the soffits and cornices, and basically this is talking about the eaves, the fascia board and underneath the eaves. Any buildings constructed on the out-parcels should be constructed of materials that are consistent with the primary structure. The actual architectural designs on the subject property shall be presented to the Planning and Zoning Department for review and approval.
5. All signage, not attached to a building, shall be monument based and shall be consistent in character and design details that reflect the architectural design of the project, as approved by Henry County Planning and Zoning Department.
6. Dumpsters shall be gated and enclosed with a three-sided masonry wall being consistent with the façade of the building to which the dumpster serves.
7. A forty foot (40’) planted buffer is required along the property’s boundaries where it is adjacent to incompatible zoning. In such case, the buffer shall contain the following number of plant materials for each fifty (50) linear feet, or portion thereof, as determined by staff:
a. One (1) Canopy Tree
b. One (1) Evergreen Tree
c. One (1) Understory Tree
d. Five (5) Shrubs
8. The Department of Development Review staff shall approve the design of all proposed landscaping plans prior to the issuance of a building permit.
9. The owner, WRL Associates III, Inc., or any subsequent owner or developer, shall construct sidewalks no less than five feet (5’) in width in a location within the right-of-way of Jonesboro and Chambers Road where designated by the State Department of Transportation or the Henry County Department of Transportation where the subject property abuts those public right-of-way.
Mr. Welch stated “conditions will be helpful to the surrounding land owners and to the taxpayers of Henry County as follows, and these are ones that we are proposing on behalf of the applicant.”
1. No certificates of occupancy shall be issued for the property until either traffic lights at the intersections of Chambers and Jonesboro Roads are installed and functional or a period of eighteen (18) months from the date of rezoning elapses, whichever occurs first. (Mr. Welch stated “this is to put a reasonable time restriction on the construction of the intersection so as not to delay development of the property, but also to allow ample time for the intersection to be improved without adding additional traffic to that intersection.)
2. A letter of credit shall be provided by the owner, WRL Associates III, Inc., or any other subsequent owner of the property for an amount not to exceed Fifty-One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty Dollars ($51,750.00) to be applied against traffic lights for and/or road improvements to the intersection of Chambers and Jonesboro Roads provided, however, that the release of said credit shall be conditioned upon the completion of said road improvements within a period of eighteen (18) months after the date of this rezoning. (Mr. Welch stated “this is obviously to ensure that the contribution goes towards that road improvement, goes toward the intersection, so that it benefits the public and that it happens within a reasonable period of time.”) The road improvements referenced herein shall be those depicted in the Jonesboro Road and Chambers Road Intersection Improvement Construction plans prepared by Street Smarts for Henry County SPLOST Management Department for Job Number 359-510 and dated 3-12-04. Furthermore, should the County assess a transportation or road related impact fee against WRL Associates III, Inc., or any subsequent owner or developer of the property, the County shall provide WRL Associates III, Inc., or any subsequent land owner or developer of the property, a credit of equal value for the funds stipulated in said letter of credit against said transportation or road improvement related impact fees. If said funds are not transferred, WRL Associates III, Inc., or any subsequent owner or developer shall pay those transportation or road-related impact fees lawfully required.
3. Should WRL Associates III, Inc., or any other subsequent purchaser, acquire the subject property, said subsequent land owner shall donate to the County the right-of-way depicted at the southeast corner of Chambers Road and Jonesboro Roads in drawing number 5-02 of the construction plans for the Jonesboro Road at Chambers Road Intersection Improvement Construction Plans prepared by Street Smarts for the Henry County SPLOST Management Department for job number 359-510 and dated 3-12-04. The sole purpose of the grant of this right-of-way is to allow for a right-hand turn lane from the northbound lane on Chambers Road onto the eastbound lane of Jonesboro Road.
4. Should WRL Associates III, Inc., or any other subsequent purchaser, acquire the subject property, said subsequent land owner shall convey to the County a temporary construction easement as depicted on those plans that I have mentioned before.
5. Should WRL Associates III, Inc., or any other subsequent purchaser, acquire the subject property, said subsequent land owner shall convey to the County twenty feet (20’) in depth along Jonesboro Road for future widening of Jonesboro Road, thereby not requiring the County to undertake condemnation actions in the future.
Mr. Welch stated “all of these are meant to mitigate the future impacts of the uses on this corridor of Jonesboro Road and to offset the potential burden the taxpayers may have to pay in order to acquire the right-of-way that would be needed to improve Jonesboro Road and Chambers Road.”
Chairman Maddox stated the opposition has two minutes and ten seconds remaining to speak.
Ms. Judy Barker stated “there are some commercial things there, like the gas station and the shopping center beside it. They are very small and not in terms of like what they’re talking about doing across the street from there. They have been made to fit into the neighborhood and they don’t look out of place where they are. But the other thing that he did not point out on the map is you also have a subdivision that is there in the middle of all that. It’s very small, there are only 14 homes, but it’s a very nice neighborhood, Crown Park Subdivision, that goes back to there and I think that it is hard. What are these people going to do with their homes? I don’t think anybody is going to come in and want to build something there, buy them out. We are trying to be good neighbors and make it nice. People come to the County because they want what we have here. We have a little open space, got nice people and beautiful land and if we continually encroach this commercial into the areas where people are already living, especially if you keep going down west on Jonesboro Road; if we don’t stop, we go all the way to the Clayton County line and it will just be another 19/41 or Buford Highway. I just don’t see that we are making any provisions to keep that nice. In my opinion, what we are doing here is a spot zoning; we’re not waiting to see what the Land Use Plan shows for taking into consideration these areas. There’s been a lot of discussion on that and I would ask that you wait for that.”
Commissioner Holman asked for a point of clarification on the conditions provided in writing by Mr. Welch. He noted the first page stopped at nine, and then another was one through five. He asked whether there is a distinction between them other than the first one through nine were staff generated and the others, one through five, are applicant generated, but if they were renumbered, they are all conditions being proposed. Mr. Welch answered affirmatively.
Commissioner Freedman stated he is going to make a motion and if that motion fails he will make a subsequent motion.
Commissioner Freedman made a motion to postpone this until the Land Use Plan is completed and we have a guidance for what should be developed in the area; Commissioner Adams seconded the motion for discussion.
Commissioner Adams asked when the Plan will be prepared. Mr. Danny Taylor, Economic Development Division Director, stated the Planning Commission if having a workshop on Thursday to review the Comprehensive Plan and either on that night or a week from that night, they will make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. He said he will schedule that on the Commissioners’ next available agenda. Commissioner Adams stated this represents a couple of weeks. He asked Mr. Welch if the applicant is agreeable to wait a couple of weeks.
Mr. Welch stated “we have had our application in for over seven months now and we’d like to go ahead and have a decision on this matter and we’ve made arrangements and made reliances upon the current Land Use Map and the trends that have been developing out in that area, so we would ask that you make a decision tonight.”
Commissioner Freedman stated Mr. Welch “made a comment that that’s emerging commercial in there. Actually it’s emerging O & I. Tim Jones has put a request in for his commercial property to be zoned O & I. The Church, which is on Mount Olive Road and Jonesboro Road has put a request in for property they want to acquire to be O & I. The bank that is on the northwest corner of Chambers Road and Jonesboro is O & I, so in reality if we look at it, what we’ve got emerging there really is O & I rather than commercial, which is probably more neighborhood friendly. You know, we may find out that the Land Use Plan and recommendations from the committees that worked on that and the firm that we hired to direct the Land Use Plan with the input from the people in the community supports commercial for that area or O & I for that area. We may end up with a win-win whereby the Land Use Plan may fully support that and we don’t have to make a zoning that is in non-conformance with the Land Use Plan. Is it really that onerous to wait to see what the Land Use Plan comes up with, even if it’s thirty days in order to see that we have something. . . we’re trying to create a Land Use Plan that we’re going to follow in the future.”
Mr. Welch stated “I can appreciate that. Both of the land owners have operated based on the current Land Use Plan and the trends. The trends are right now, what is on the map, what is zoned on these pieces of property, all the surrounding zoning, not letters of intent or anything other than, what has been legally zoned along Jonesboro Road is commercial. Commissioner Freedman is correct that the opposite corner, the diagonal corner across, is zoned O & I, but otherwise these properties along this road are commercial and they are all commercial on the southern side of Jonesboro Road. The applicant requests that you make a decision either to deny it or approve the request. We think that the request is one in keeping with the trends in that area and should others decide to rezone their properties to O & I, then that’s their Constitutional right to do so.”
Chairman Maddox asked Mr. Taylor, “on the new Land Use Map that is out, does that area down Jonesboro Road say emerging commercial on the map?” Mr. Taylor said “it indicates that area as commercial, to what extent I can’t really say. Right now it is still in draft form.” Chairman Maddox asked, “does it have on there emerging commercial.” Mr. Taylor said “it doesn’t indicate emerging commercial; it would just say commercial. There is no reason to say it is emerging because this is going to be the final Land Use Plan.”
Commissioner Holder asked staff “what is magical about the new Land Use Plan when, in fact, the same group of people, as far as staff is concerned and the same Board of Commissioners will have input into what goes into the area, other than the fact they call it the new 2025 Plan versus the end of the current plan. What is magical about change? Obviously somebody knows what it’s going to be. What is it?”
Mr. Taylor responded “There’s nothing magical about it.” Commissioner Holder said “I don’t think there is, either; that’s my point.” Mr. Taylor stated “It just hasn’t finished the review process, yet, so you don’t really have. . .” Commissioner Holder said, “But you are saying that currently, for the area, the new Plan shows commercial?” Mr. Taylor answered affirmatively, noting “I’m not sure if it shows it in this exact area because we really haven’t finished with that part of it, but it certainly is forthcoming.” Commissioner Holder asked “can you define the exact parcel or are you talking about. . .” Mr. Taylor stated, “I’m talking about the general area and we won’t know that until we finish with it.”
Commissioner Freedman’s motion to table the request failed by a vote of 2-4, with Commissioners Freedman and Holman in favor; and Commissioners Maddox, Harper, Holder and Adams opposed.
Commissioner Freedman said he will make a subsequent motion. He said “before I make the motion, I want to say that we need to thank Bo Chaffin and his family. It was a very good town hall meeting we had a couple of weeks ago. It was cordial, they stuck around, the Chaffin family and their extended family, and talked to the citizens who showed up and I’ve got to tell you that that was deeply appreciated. I had a lot of calls about that; that was a good meeting; it was a nice meeting; it was a good exchange of ideas; and I think it was very nice. As a matter of fact, I think as a result of that, that Mr. Chaffin even told his attorney that he was willing to change his request for RZ-03-60, which is coming up after RZ-03-59. I have to tell the people who weren’t there and the people who were there that that’s much appreciated, Bo. Thank you and your family for showing up and having such a cordial meeting. That’s good community spirit and it’s good community interaction. This is a difficult decision. We’ve got people who have rights because they have land and we’ve got people who have rights because they have land near that. Probably the people most impacted right now by what’s going in there are the people who live in the Crown Park Subdivision because they are the ones that have put the money into their homes and in many cases, a great portion of their savings into their homes, and they’re going to be impacted by what goes into that area. I think we have to protect those people and the value they’ve put in their homes and the fact that that is a residential subdivision. I’ve got to also say that the company that owns both parcels of property have agreed, and it’s not going to be a condition, but it is an offer made by the land owner in conjunction with WRL, to contribute a combined total of $75,000 toward the traffic light at the Chambers Road/Jonesboro Road intersection. That is not a condition, it was not a demand, it was an offer that was put out by the Chaffins and the people that I think are going to be interested in buying the property and I think we have to acknowledge that; that that was an offer made by them. It was not a demand made by us, it was an offer given by them early on. I would add that the bank that went in on the northwest corner made the same offer and we did not make it a condition and it shouldn’t be a condition, but it’s certainly an acceptable offer.”
Commissioner Freedman made a motion to approve the rezoning from RA to C-2 with some of the conditions listed, a copy of which he will provide the Clerk. He said “I’m going to synopsize them because they are in writing and Mr. Andy Welch gave the conditions as he read them.
1. One of them was that they will increase the size of the parking spaces. I’m leaving that as it is as part of the motion with the conditions.
2. The second one, the sixty foot wide easement for interconnectivity shall stay as part of my motion.
3. Number three, exterior lighting, will stay. It will be downcast, moderate brightness.
4. Number four, I have changed the wording just a bit to say the ‘primary structure shall be constructed of brick with designated block, glass, stone or stucco and/or other accents. Vinyl may be used in the soffits.” The last part of that, ‘Planning and Zoning Department will have review and final approval.’
5. Number five, remain as presented by the Attorney, all signage, not attached to a building, shall be monument based.
6. Number six would remain the same, dumpsters shall be gated and enclosed.
7. Number seven, the forty foot planted buffer would remain.
8. Number eight, the Department of Development Review staff shall approve the design of all proposed landscape plans, will remain.
9. Number nine, WRL Associates or any subsequent owner will construct sidewalks as indicated along Chambers and Jonesboro Road.
10. Add number ten, The out-parcel on the northeast portion of the property, and it is listed as an out parcel on the plat, fronting Jonesboro Road, and actually it fronts the Crown Park Subdivision, shall be rezoned O & I with architectural and landscaping conditions noted on the commercial tract and approved by the Planning and Zoning staff. (That will protect the subdivision, Crown Park, with O & I, which would be office, which is normally an 8:00 to 5:00 operation rather than the longer hour operation of a grocery store and strip mall. I think that satisfies the needs of the property owners for commercial, at the same time that it protects that subdivision, which I think is imperative that we do, and I think that’s a fair thing to put on there.)
11. Two other conditions – no certificates of occupancy shall be issued until either a traffic light at the intersection of Chambers and Jonesboro Road is installed and functional or a period of eighteen (18) months.
12. A letter of credit shall be provided by the owner, WRL or any subsequent land owner. That condition is acceptable if it ends with ‘be applied toward traffic lights.’ (I don’t think we need to put in there that there’s any reduction in impact fees or anything like that, so I’d recommend that the money be applied against traffic lights for and/or road improvements at the intersection of Chambers and Jonesboro Road, and that would be the end of that particular offer by the land owner.
13. Number three, on the second part of the conditions as proposed by the applicant, ‘Should any subsequent owner acquire the property, they will donate to the County the right-of-way for the expansion of the Jonesboro Road.’
14. Number four on your secondary sheet, would stay as it is. ‘Subsequent purchaser or land owner will convey to the County a temporary construction easement.’
15. The last condition will remain, which is the twenty foot land conveyed to the County where it abuts the right-of-way of Jonesboro Road for additional widening of Jonesboro Road.”
Commissioner Holman seconded the motion for discussion.
Mr. Welch stated he would like to request “the out-parcel not be rezoned as O & I; and two, that impact fees should be credited to the developer. We don’t have transportation impact fees currently, but what we are doing in terms of donating land and donating funds for the road improvements are, in essence, paying impact fees in advance to offset our impacts on the community. We strongly think we ought to be given credit for those impacts, those contributions against any future impact fees that might be imposed and those impact fees should include all the right-of-way that is being donated, as well, in addition to the monetary donation.”
Commissioner Harper asked Mr. Welch to show him the out-parcel on the map. Mr. Welch displayed a plat and asked Commissioner Freedman if he was referring to a specific section on the plat. Commissioner Freedman answered affirmatively. Commissioner Adams asked where the entrance to the subdivision is located. Mr. Welch showed where the entrance is located. Commissioner Holder asked for a show of hands in the audience of people who live in Crown Park Subdivision. Three individuals raised their hands.
Chairman Maddox asked Commissioner Freedman if he is willing to remove the O & I out-parcel condition from his motion. Commissioner Freedman answered “no, that’s directly in front of that subdivision. I think that is very important to protect that subdivision without having lights 24 hours a day. If they are getting commercial on the whole part, certainly a small portion of O & I seems fair to people that own the land and people who live in the subdivision and have to face that. I don’t think that’s onerous at all.”
Commissioner Adams asked whether the entrance could be moved away from the entrance to the subdivision. Mr. Welch conferred with his client about this possibility. Mr. Welch stated “I have spoken with my client, who is amenable to the recommendation of Commissioner Freedman that the outparcel be zoned O & I, but that the access point remain where it is. What he would also ask is that the language about cornices and gables and allowing vinyl to be there. Right now I think it says soffits. That needs to be cornices and soffits in order to encompass the whole eave. The other item that needs to be addressed is that we are trying to do away with the impact fees for the contribution for the light, however, we do very much wish to obtain a set dollar amount to offset the impact fee so they would be assessed for the right-of-ways donated, so in that respect it would be a credit toward impact fees at the value of what right-of-way has been granted, plus whatever the value of the construction easement when we can determine those values subsequently.”
Commissioner Freedman stated “I think that’s fair. I would be willing to adjust the motion to say that the value of the right-of-way donated could be used to offset impact fees. I think that’s fair. Thank you for the O & I portion. Also, the Planning staff has asked me to add in another condition, which I will, and only because we did it with the Sembler property, that there be a master sign plan as agreed to and approved by the Planning staff, because otherwise we’ll have signs everywhere and this way the signs on the buildings, the signs on the monument will be uniform and approved by the Planning staff.”
Commissioner Holman amended his second, and noted he would “just remind Commissioner Freedman that he’s changing the cornice and gables, as requested.”
Mr. Welch stated “the only other part of that was that the 18 month letter of credit should be put in place for the light donation. If no light goes in there, then there’s no value given, and there’s a total of $75,000 given to the community for no apparent benefit to the public that is there, the people that are using this intersection. That’s the whole point of the contribution, so there should be some time frame put on that, and 18 months is more than reasonable.”
Commissioner Freedman stated, “let me make sure the motion includes that the soffits and the gables are part of that paragraph where it talks about the primary structure. It still says final approval by Planning and Zoning. I’ll tell you why I’m unwilling to put that eighteen month condition on there. We may have something happen whereby there’s a delay, the road collapses, the Water Authority wants to change the sewer line; we don’t know, and what we’re saying if we agree to that is after eighteen months that $75,000 goes away. Now I know it’s not a condition, but it certainly is an acceptable offer, and I don’t want that to go away. When the bank gave theirs, they put no conditions on it. It was a good will gesture to say we’ll offer $75,000 and I’d hate to see that go away. That intersection, we want that done probably more quickly than the land owner. In fact, that was planned long before there was even a commercial zoning applied for on that.”
Mr. Welch stated “the bottom line is, that time frame needs to be, there needs to be some time frame for these monies donated, it’s important that it be there.”
Mr. Bill Hole, WRL Associates, 1080 Holcomb Bridge, Roswell, Georgia, stated “I think Andy misunderstood me. My concern was with one of your stipulations on the light going in, I thought I understood you to say that there would be no co’s until the light went in. I’m not near as concerned about the eighteen months. If it ends up being 24 months, so be it, but I wouldn’t want to get started and you say, well we’re going to be another two years in constructing that intersection and that light and I can’t get any co’s during that time. That’s my concern.”
Commissioner Freedman responded, “we left that eighteen months in. That was not changed. We weren’t talking the money issue.” He further stated “that number one, or whatever the number was, stayed in about the eighteen months or the. . .” Mr. Welch said “I didn’t think that you would set the co contingent upon the light or the donations for it.” Commissioner Holman stated “that was condition number eleven.”
Mr. Jaugstetter suggested “on the impact fee issue that the condition of granting a credit against impact fees have a limitation that says if it is permitted by the Impact Fee Act. Georgia has a Development Impact Fee Act that says how when we can and can’t give credits and I can’t sit here and tell you that you are authorized to give credit for improvements made prior to enacting the Impact Fee Act.”
Chairman Maddox asked Mr. Welch if he is satisfied with the motion as it stands. Commissioner Freedman stated “I think what the Attorney wants to do is make sure that, as far as the impact fee issue that it stay in accordance with law.” Mr. Welch stated “yes, that’s part of it, if the law permits. We are under the understanding that the credit will be given for the right-of-ways that are donated if the law permits.”
Commissioner Holman amended his second. The motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor.
REZONING REQUEST – JAMES CHAFFIN (RZ-03-60):
Mr. Ray Gibson, Planner, presented the rezoning request of James Chaffin from RA (residential agricultural) to C-2 (general commercial) for property located on Chambers Road near the Jonesboro Road intersection, in Land Lot 109 of the 6th District. The property consists of 10.7+/- acres. The Planning Commission recommended denial on March 11, 2004.
Chairman Maddox read a proposed resolution regarding this rezoning request.
Mr. A. J. Welch, III, Attorney for James Chaffin, appeared before the Board on behalf of the applicant, and made the following statement:
“The request is to rezone the property as presented to you from RA to C-2. We have discussed with Commissioner Freedman after hearing from the public and the Planning Commission meeting, and at the public meeting that has been referenced by Commissioner Freedman earlier that there is again concern on traffic impacts and those related items. The applicant, James Arthur Chaffin, or Chief Bo Chaffin, has said that they are willing, the property owners have agreed that they are willing to accept a zoning classification of O & I for the property. This property is located south of the property we just talked about before.” Mr. Welch displayed an area map and a proposed site plan. Mr. Welch stated “a request has been made by the applicant that that be rezoned rather than C-2 to O & I. There are certain conditions that we can discuss further; modifications made to Planning staff’s recommended conditions.”
Chairman Maddox asked if there was any opposition present to this request. Approximately twelve audience members raised their hands.
Ms. Laurie Steele, 1185 Mount Carmel Road, stated “these are my family members and I live in this area and my only concern is one of where you do draw the lines of where you stop. Chambers Road being residential, my concern is if you turn down Chambers Road one way or the other, and this property is accessed off Chambers Road, that you open the door. This is a residential area and my concern is where. . . What we have talked about thus far has been on Jonesboro Road, but when you begin to travel north and south on Chambers, then you are talking about a different issue and my concern is that of continuing down Chambers Road.”
Mr. John Crisler, 915 Chambers Road, stated “I would like to second the lady’s motion here that you consider drawing the line in the sand where it’s at and not come down Chambers Road with any commercial or O & I development.”
Ms. Sharon Cavin, Chambers Road, stated “I have been to this podium many times over 22 years. I have to first express I am very shocked at the rezoning on Chambers Road with just those few conditions, but I’m extremely concerned about commercial property or O & I coming down Chambers Road and in the proposal for the Jonesboro Road property, I believe you referenced access to that commercial property through this ten acres that faces Chambers Road. That gives me great concern. Chambers Road is strictly residential; there is no room for O & I; there is no room for access to commercial property, this big development that is going to be on Chambers Road. I’m actually pretty emotional about this. I hope that you will do the right thing and deny this request for rezoning. Chambers Road should stay residential as it is, as the Land Use Plan shows, as we have been told as residents there over the years that it would not go commercial, that it would not go O & I, it would stay residential. I implore you tonight to please deny this request.”
Ms. Judy Barker, Chambers Crossing, 211 Edna Ruth Lane, stated “You need to remember Chambers Road is a minor arterial road. It’s two lane, it’s 35 miles per hour. The police constantly sit on it because no one wants to go 35 on it, but it has two very dangerous curves that you cannot go any faster than that. We were all extremely pleased when they opened up Mill Road. The paving of that has made a tremendous difference for our area. It has taken a lot of traffic away. It’s exactly what it is designed to do, Mill Road is 45 miles per hour; it’s a little bit straighter, nicer road; it allows people easy access; it gives them the traffic light for getting out on Jonesboro Road; it is closer to the Interstate; it has done exactly what it was supposed to do. But, if you bring O & I or anything other than residential down Chambers, you are going to change that again. It really has helped us take away some traffic by doing what you did on Mill, but I agree with them, if you do any rezoning on Chambers other than residential, then that is not a good move. I know there are some other residential rezonings coming up on Chambers. We know that that’s going to change there because there is now water. You have sewer that’s going through there, so it will no longer maintain R-1 and RA and we know that, but we really need to try and keep it as little amount of traffic because I know you guys aren’t going to come in there and widen the road. It doesn’t call for that and it’s not going to happen. We would implore that you really think this one through and go with Planning and Zoning said, which was to deny this request.”
Ms. Tina Coria, 660 Chambers Road, stated “I ask you as I have asked you for the last 17 years, please follow the Land Use Plan. And, Mr. Freedman I especially point this out to you because we tried to explain to you what spot zoning would do. You set the precedent. You sat at Teddy’s Diner and told Mr. Morris’ daughter, you told me and Julia Cates that your vision was for Jonesboro Road to become Tara Boulevard. If we wanted it to be Tara Boulevard, we would live in Clayton County. We ask you to go by the Land Use Plan, which is a covenant between the people and you guys are not upholding it, and that’s all we ask you. We don’t ask you for anything but to follow the Land Use Plan. We live by it and we ask you to live by it.”
Commissioner Freedman stated “Tina, you are half right. What I said is Tara Boulevard as far as it goes, not all of Jonesboro Road, so if you complete the whole sentence, what I said was I welcomed that commercial where it is, and I wanted us to have that commercial. No I don’t want it to be Tara Boulevard, I want it to look like it is because it looks good and it’s much better than Tara Boulevard. Commercial does not need to progress all the way west down Jonesboro Road. So, that was half right.”
Commissioner Freedman continued “We had a lot of homeowners who met with the Chaffins last week on the 7th and I’m surprised because when I came out of the meeting people said they were satisfied having O & I in there in lieu of commercial. And I thought that that was something that was a concept that was agreed to by the people who live in the area because, I think the choice was commercial or not commercial. My fear was it was going to be passed by the Board for commercial, but Mr. Chaffin made the effort to say he is willing to make that O & I at the request of the people who were there because they thought that would be less of an impact. And it would be less of an impact. I’m worried, also, about commercial encroaching down west on Jonesboro Road and I don’t know the magic formula to say where it stops because I thought I had a magic formula at Mount Olive and at the Tim Jones property and that didn’t work, and I voted against commercial emerging down that road, but I was outvoted and I think the trend is that there’s going to be some commercial in that area and I think we just did a good job on working with the land developer and the people who are buying the land on the constraints we put on it. I think it will look good, as Ms. Barker mentioned when she came up, the convenience store and the small strip mall on Jonesboro Road at Chambers are an asset to the community. They are widely used; they look good; and I think if you build things and make them look good, then they fit the community well. And I have said that I support commercial growth, but not where it impacts a neighborhood and where it has a negative impact on people’s residential lifestyle. I’ve got to ask you, Andy, if there’s any way that there would be no access to Chambers Road since Mr. Chaffin’s going to have an easement from his property all the way to Jonesboro Road? Why can’t we make that access to that property be at Jonesboro Road and plant a buffer along the west side of that property where it abuts Chambers Road to shield that residential area?”
Mr. Welch responded “two reasons. The first reason is that if this contract is not assigned that condition to it and the contract between the two parties falls through, for whatever reason, then that property, in essence, would be landlocked and you are basically taking all value from the property and that’s the first reason. The second reason is this, that the Georgia D.O.T. issued State Route of Jonesboro Road. Georgia D.O.T. is going to push for access to be given on Chambers Road simply because the traffic flow is designed to move traffic across the major arterial road of Jonesboro Road and get that moving at a higher rate of speed than on Chambers. If you require that there be no access and those people that are driving and work here from this community, whether they live in Tim Jones’ community or down Chambers Road, they will have to go out, make a right-hand turn onto Jonesboro and come down, slowing down traffic on Jonesboro Road, creating traffic congestion there and turn back in. Secondarily, if someone is trying to get into the office park, if this area is zoned as office, will have to come down Chambers and turn in and access it this way. The easement is there to address Planning and Zoning staff’s concerns about having interconnectivity between parcels to minimize the amount of people that may go to shop at the shopping center, who may work in the office area, and then go to the shopping center to keep them in that parcel as opposed to leaving out on the roads and causing traffic congestion. So, I think that actually, while it sounds good, I think ultimately it causes more traffic problems ultimately than it solves.”
Commissioner Freedman said “he’s not landlocked if he’s got a 60 foot easement all the way to Jonesboro Road, is he Andy?” Mr. Welch stated “no, that’s what I’m saying, that does not materialize, then he is.” Commissioner Freedman stated “at the meeting we had, the people preferred O & I over commercial and my worry tonight is if we don’t do O & I, then the subsequent motion up here is going to be commercial and it’s going to pass, and I’ve got to do what I think is the best impact for the community and I think O & I is. I know I don’t have any doubt in my mind that it will be commercial if we don’t do O & I. However, I’m going to require a planted buffer along Chambers Road because O & I doesn’t need the visibility that commercial does. So, I’m going to recommend approval of O & I on RZ-03-60, taking out the same conditions regarding the donation of the money for the traffic signal, taking out the time issue, but there be a minimum 20 foot planted tree buffer along the west side of the property as it abuts Chambers Road, with Evergreen trees, to be determined by Planning and Zoning staff, except where there is an entrance road giving access to that property.”
Commissioner Freedman stated “the number one condition, where it says the Planning and Zoning Department shall have authority for review, I’ve changed that to put ‘and give final approval of architectural plans for any structure constructed on the subject property.’”
Commissioner Freedman stated that is his motion. Commissioner Holman seconded for discussion.
Commissioner Holman asked what Commissioner Freedman was using to make his conditions, noting he was not able to follow along. Commissioner Freedman answered the list containing recommendations made by the Planning staff and conditions agreed upon by the applicant. (The list of conditions are included as part of the Resolution.)
Commissioner Holder stated condition #7 says “a forty foot planted buffer is required along the property’s boundaries where there is an adjacent incompatible zoning.” Commissioner Freedman said his concern was “this is adjacent to incompatible zoning and it is adjacent to a road, so that was my concern.” Commissioner Holder asked Mr. Jaugstetter whether the road would count or not. Mr. Jaugstetter said “I don’t know. It says what it says and there’s no legal way to interpret, no rule to tell me how to interpret this condition. If the agenda is to prohibit access onto Chambers Road, then the motion should be ‘no access onto Chambers Road.’ Does the road prevent the property from being adjacent to an incompatible zoning?” Commissioner Holder said “the point is, I haven’t seen any language in any of the conditions that prohibited access to Chambers Road.” Commissioner Freedman said “there was no language to that effect.” Commissioner Holder said “that’s the point I’m making. So, it’s not a buffer to prevent access to Chambers. I knew I never heard it. The second question I have about access to Chambers, we created the scenario of people from Chambers Road getting into the office, look and see how they’re going to get to go home if they don’t have access to Chambers. They’ve got to go out, make a left-hand turn on Jonesboro, go out to Chambers, make another left-hand turn onto Chambers, when in fact they could go right out of the parking lot into Chambers. I can understand the concern of the encroachment into the neighborhood, believe me, I can, but in weighing the good and the bad, I cannot see how access in this particular case of O & I would be totally bad for the neighborhood. I think the positive would outweigh the negatives.”
Commissioner Freedman stated “I’m going to strike that condition and change #7 to read ‘a forty foot planted buffer is required along the property’s boundaries along the western side of the property where it’s adjacent to Chambers Road, except where there is ingress and egress.”
Commissioner Holman amended the second.
Chairman Maddox asked Mr. Welch if the motion is agreeable with him. Mr. Welch stated “I believe that is agreeable. There will be access to Chambers with the 40 foot planted buffer staff has recommended, but we want to make sure you are referring to the conditions and the proposed donations that I present to you on this document. Just to identify the document for the record, at the bottom is a document number 92170.”
Commissioner Freedman’s motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor.
REZONING – AARON MASON (RZ-03-71):
Chairman Maddox read a proposed resolution pertaining to the next agenda item, RZ-03-71. This is the rezoning request of Aaron Mason for a rezoning from RA to R-2 for property located at 556, 558 and 562 Ward Drive, in Land Lot 225 of the 11th District. The property consists of 6.84 +/- acres and the request is for a single-family residential subdivision. The Planning Board recommended approval on March 11, 2004. The recommended conditions are as follows:
1. The net density shall not exceed 1.25 dwelling units per acre.
2. House sizes shall be a minimum of 3,000 square feet.
3. Homes shall be built on site; no modular homes will be allowed. Two-car side-entry garages will be standard.
4. Developer shall install sidewalks on both sides of the streets within the subdivision.
5. Each yard is to be sodded to the rear drip line of the houses.
6. The developer shall install underground utilities and street lights.
7. All houses shall be four-sided brick.
8. Developer shall install acceleration/deceleration lanes in accordance with the Henry County Department of Transportation.
Mr. Aaron Mason, 562 Ward Road, Ellenwood, appeared before the Board. He stated he owns the subject property and his request is to change the zoning from Residential Agricultural (RA) to R-2, which is 30,000 square foot minimum lots. He stated he is agreeable with all of the conditions, however, some may be amended pursuant to a conversation with Commissioner Holman.
There was no opposition present to this request.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to approve RZ-03-71, with the following amendments. He said the first paragraph in the resolution should be corrected to reflect “Ward Road” rather than “Ward Drive.”
1. The net density shall not exceed 1.25 dwelling units per acre. The minimum lot size shall be no less than 30,000 square feet.
2. House sizes shall be a minimum of 3,000 square feet heated space.
3. Homes shall be built on site; no modular homes will be allowed. Two-car side-entry garages will be standard.
4. Developer shall install sidewalks on both sides of the streets within the subdivision.
5. Each yard is to be sodded to the rear drip line of the houses.
6. The developer shall install underground utilities and street lights.
7. All houses shall be all sides brick or stone in any combination. Soffit, facia and decorative trim in vinyl only.
Commissioner Holman stated “I don’t know how to deal with condition number eight. I need guidance from staff and before we get into discussion, let me share with my fellow Board members what has brought this to my attention. If you make reference to the plat, the applicant, if he were to attempt to install an acceleration or deceleration lane on the property, which is 150 feet thereabout plus a taper, he’d run out of room and he’d have to acquire land from an adjoining property owner, an easement to do it. So, staff has diligently shared with me that because this road is a classification of local, our ordinance for decel/accel lane does not apply, so this number eight condition really should be struck from the conditions. However, I’d like to, just so the applicant knows we didn’t go to sleep at the Board, I’d like to replace that language: ‘Developer shall, in accordance with Henry County Department of Transportation abide by Section 3-8-2, which makes reference to intersection site distance’ and also I’d like language in there for staff, with their guidance, to make sure that the entrance from the subdivision onto Ward is at wide radius, etc., etc.”
Commissioner Freedman seconded.
Commissioner Freedman stated “Mr. Holman, I think you can require accel/decel lanes any place you want them. If you’ve got a narrow road, I would think that that is the one place you’d want accel/decel lanes.” Commissioner Holder said, “what he is saying is, there is not enough frontage; you’d have to acquire from another adjoining property owner.”
Chairman Maddox asked what the frontage is on the property. Commissioner Holman stated “the frontage is 180 feet thereabout and I have rationalized this in this way, to allow me to come to this point to move this resolution. The applicant really has, if you can put it in your mind, a shared driveway with eight residences on it. That’s the way I have rationalized this.
Commissioner Freedman asked how many homes are proposed. Commissioner Holman answered “What’s happening is there is an existing home. What’s happening is there is approximately seven acres, estate lot, with an existing residence where you reside. You are going to subdivide your property and you are going to build these monster 3,000 all brick masonry products.” Mr. Mason said “yes, that’s what the neighborhood has become.” Commissioner Holman said “there will be a total of seven homes sharing that driveway, so that’s the traffic that’s going to come onto Ward Road.”
Chairman Maddox said, “I understand it’s only 180 feet, but would it be convenient for him to widen the road out some on his side, not necessarily making a decel and acceleration lane, just widening to some degree.” Commissioner Holder said the “simple thing to do was to leave it to the discretion of the D.O.T. It’s not required in this case. The State does not require it, even on State routes throughout this County in every case.”
Commissioner Freedman stated “the realities are, that’s a fast road. I’ve been on that road; people drive real fast on that road. That’s a speedway down there.” Mr. Mason stated “that’s not Ward Road. Do you mean Ward Road or Ward Lake Road?” Commissioner Adams stated Commissioner Freedman is probably talking about Ward Lake Road. Commissioner Freedman said “you are coming out of Ward Road. I’ve been on Ward Road and traffic does not go slow on Ward Road when I’ve gone down that road, and you’ve got 14-15 cars a day going in and coming out. I know you don’t own the land where you could put your decel/accel lane, but you’ve got cars slowing down to a stop to turn in to go in there, or cars coming out that don’t have an acceleration lane; that’s a danger. We can’t tell you people next to it have to give up property for a decel lane; I understand that. I don’t know what the answer is except maybe you could word it such a way that if the people would give the right-of-way that he will put in an accel/decel lane. It’s a safety issue.”
Mr. Mason asked “what about a boulevard opening.”
Commissioner Holman said “I’d like to amend #8 because what we are really doing is just bringing the applicant’s attention by this condition #8 to our section.” Mr. Taylor suggested the condition read “the applicant shall submit design proposals to the staff for review and approval.”
Commissioner Holman amended his motion to include condition #8 – “The applicant shall submit design proposals to the staff for review and approval.” Commissioner Freedman amended the second.
Commissioner Holman’s motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor.
REZONING – C & N DEVELOPMENT (RZ-03-54):
Chairman Maddox announced the next rezoning item, RZ-03-54, which is a request from C & N Development from RA (Residential Agricultural) to R-2 (Single-Family Residential) for property located on the north side of East Lake Road, in Land Lots 7 and 8 of the 7th District. The Planning Commission recommended denial on February 26, 2004.
Mr. Gee Harvey, of Dillard & Galloway, appeared before the Board on behalf of the applicant, and made the following statement:
“I am here this evening on behalf of C & N Development Corporation. This is a request to rezone approximately 62 acres, I believe it is exactly roughly 61.8 acres, of property that’s located off East Lake Road from RA. Actually what we’re asking you to do this evening is to zone it to R-2. I know the application submitted to the Planning Department asked that we be rezoned from RA to R-1 with R-2 development standards. The reason why that was how the application was submitted was because directly across the street from the property is the Smithfield Estates Subdivision and that is how that subdivision is zoned. It is zoned R-1 with R-2 development standards. But, in order to be honest with everybody, we’ll call a spade a spade, it’s R-2, so this evening we are actually asking you to zone it R-2. I did submit a list of zoning conditions to you. On the top, you will reference the zoning number, RZ-03-54, dated May 18, 2004. The document number is at the bottom; it is 104174v1. We are asking that it be zoned R-2 subject to those seven conditions, which I distributed to you. I will run through those briefly, and there is actually one other condition I want to add to it, which I apologize that I forgot and omitted.
“#1 on the list, which I did give a copy to the Clerk, I believe, and to staff – All utilities shall be underground.
#2 – There shall be no vinyl or aluminum siding used within the development.
#3 – All single-family detached houses located within the development shall have exteriors of brick, stone, stucco or other masonry; hardi-board or hardi-plank siding (or some other cement siding); clapboards; shakes or shingles; or some combination of these materials. The facades of each house built within the development shall be primarily brick or stone, with the other materials listed above used as accents and on any gables, etc.
#4 – There shall be no more than 100 single-family detached houses built on the property. (The application as originally submitted was for 109 homes. We have reduced that to no more than 100 homes. We expect it will probably be a few less than that, somewhere in the high 90’s, but that is what we would like to cap it at.)
#5 – Each house shall have a minimum of 2,200 square feet of floor space.
#6 – There shall be a mandatory homeowners association established by the developer that shall oversee the maintenance of all common areas of the proposed subdivision.
#7 – The front and side yards of each lot shall be sodded.
#8 – The minimum lot size will be no less than 20,000 square feet. (As I am sure you are aware R-2 actually has a minimum lot size on sewer of 18,000 square feet. We are willing to increase that to 22,000 square feet so there’s a minimum half-acre lot within the development.”
Mr. Harvey continued, “As I understand it, the Planning Commission recommended denial solely because this property is served by the Springdale Wastewater Treatment Plant, which, of course, I am sure you are aware is currently under a moratorium. We don’t believe that’s a valid reason for denying the rezoning request. We do realize we’re not going to be able to obtain these certificates of occupancy or sewer taps for the property until that moratorium is lifted. As we understand it from the Water and Sewerage Authority, they expect the moratorium to be over and the improvements to the Springdale Plant to be completed no later than March of 2005, but they are hoping it’s sooner than that, possibly as early as November of this year. That said, we would like to ask that you also condition, I guess number 9, would be that we be allowed to go ahead and submit and apply for and pull a land disturbance permit and go ahead and begin work on the subdivision. And, also if we get to the point which they are ready to apply for building permits, I guess it can be condition ten, and if the sewer moratorium is still in effect, that the builder, whoever that may be, be allowed to apply for and obtain building permits, provided they do two things. One is they provide the County with a hold harmless agreement, which holds you all harmless from any potential liability or problems with them pulling building permits while the sewer moratorium is in effect, and that they fully understand and acknowledge and agree that they would not apply nor be able to obtain certificates of occupancy until the moratorium has been lifted. That said, as a practical matter, I don’t think they can submit their plans and get approved and get the land developed to a state to do the houses prior to November of this year, anyway, or thereabouts, and hopefully all of this moot. I just wanted to address that because I know it has been a concern as a practical matter. As I said, I don’t think that will actually be an issue. I don’t think any of these houses will be even near being ready to obtain COs until after March of 2005, which is my understanding from the Water and Sewer Authority that the moratorium will definitely be lifted by that point in time.”
Mr. Harvey continued “I would like to add these are going to be high quality houses, like I’ve said, basically four sides brick or stone. My clients anticipate originally listing the houses for sale from between $285 to $350,000. Of course, if the market will tolerate and folks will pay more than that, they will sell them for more than that, as anyone will do. So, just to let you know kind of what we are looking at, four side brick or stone house for the most part, with accents with some other materials except no vinyl or aluminum siding; minimum of 2,200 square feet; and like I said $285 to $350,000. The reason for the 2,200 square foot minimum is we anticipate most of the houses being larger than that, but they would like to have the ability to build some one-story ranch houses for folks who are empty nesters, whose kids have grown up and are gone to college or what have you, that would like to stay in the area, but don’t want two stories, such as what my parents just moved to up in Forsyth County, and to do that you don’t want as much space to clean, etc., and have to keep up, so that’s the reason for the 2,200 square foot minimum. I do anticipate most of the houses will probably be closer to 3,000 square feet or so, just given what they anticipate selling them for.”
Mr. Harvey continued “With that said, I do think this is a good use of the property. Across the street, on East Lake Road, all of that is, of course, is for R-2 development. As I stated previously, directly across the street is Smithfield Estates, which is in effect an R-2 subdivision. I know it is zoned R-1 with R-2 development standards. I guess adjacent to our property, Glenhaven Church is currently being constructed, which fronts on East Lake Road, so the property abuts that. There is 43 acres of undeveloped property and also on East Lake Road is an elementary school as you are heading down to 155. I think it is an appropriate use of the property, they are high quality homes my clients anticipate being developed there and built there. I think it is appropriate given the fact it is by a church, schools, etc. I would be happy to answer any questions that you all may have and I would like to reserve any remaining time I have left for rebuttal.”
Chairman Maddox asked if any opposition was present. A large number of audience members expressed opposition to this rezoning request.
Mr. Randy Boyd, Registered Land Surveyor and Civil Engineer, addressed the Board as follows:
“I am representing about ten or twelve of the families in the area along East Lake and John Elliott Road. They are decendants of the Steele family and Elliott family. They’ve been in this area for about 150 years. This petitioner said this zoning is a request for R-2 and we’ll call a spade a spade. Unfortunately we don’t feel the public has been adequately notified with this because I have four notices in the paper that it was first 104 acres, then went to 108, and now it’s back down to 60. It always said RA to R-1. R-1 is one acre minimum. This did not ever fit into a R-1 category and we disagree with what he says about what is across the street. R-2, they did request that; Jerry Ballard Homes did request that four years ago. They had meetings with the community and they, in the true spirit of cooperation, did away with the R-2 zoning and R-2 without sewer is a minimum lot size of 30,000 square feet. My firm has done some surveying in this for Jerry Ballard Homes and, to my knowledge, none of them are less than 30,000 square feet, so it’s not truly an R-2 zoning. They were limited to one dwelling unit per acre. We would not be in opposition to this zoning if the petitioners would agree to that. They have 62 acres here. Jerry Ballard Homes requested 68.5 acres and they got a density yield of 70; but, there again, the people I represent would not be in opposition to this if they’d limit it to one dwelling unit per acre. The petitioner also said that the only reason the Planning Commission turned it down was the sewer. I was at that meeting; that’s not true. Some of the concerns were that they didn’t zone this property because the Land Use Plan states that it was discussed that night; that it was dwelling units on the Land Use Plan for this area states it’s .8 to one dwelling units per acre. This petitioner is asking for, in his original submittal, was 1.75 to 2.1 dwelling units per acre, much higher than what it was across the street.”
Mr. Boyd continued “we would request that this zoning, if it’s going to be tied to the Smithfield, that they would get the same dwelling units per acre. This is one of the most confusing petitions that I have ever looked at in my life. The four requests in the paper. The public has not been adequately notified. All the advertisements in the paper and the sign says RA to R-1. This is not a zoning request for R-1. Then they come here tonight and ask for R-2. That’s improper for the public.”
Mr. Boyd continued “on the application, we got a copy from the Planning and Zoning Office, and one of the things that was a concern of my clients, they have a site plan, and I’m going to try to display it. They have a survey exhibit in their application that has a lake on it and the petitioner, for some reason, didn’t include that on their site plan. So, this is public knowledge, we pulled up the National Wetlands Inventory Maps, and this lake is shown as a jurisdictional wetlands and the creek associated with it, which is Rocky Branch, also has a flood hazard area associated with it. Petitioners chose, for some reason, to totally ignore this situation. It’s obviously an environmentally sensitive area and we would just like to know how they are going to handle that. Staff recommended in their report denial to the Planning Commission for a number of reasons. We ask that this Board do the same thing that they told Jerry Ballard Homes back in the year 2000. There are certain conditions, and I have copies of those. I would ask that you put the same conditions upon this piece of property, which basically is the same piece of property, it’s just separated by a road. They turned them down on the R-2 request with sewer. We ask that you do the same thing here and give them a dwelling unit of one per acre. Thank you.”
Commissioner Adams asked Mr. Jaugstetter, “if the signs said they are going from RA to R-1, but now they want to go R-2; it seems like the public would not have been notified.” Mr. Jaugstetter stated “if the request was for R-2, it does not appear to have been advertised. The fact that there is a rezoning hearing has been advertised and the public is on notice of the rezoning application. I would suggest the public has not been notified of what the rezoning request is. There is adequate notice that there is a rezoning request and adequate notice that there is a hearing tonight, but whether that notice has misled the public is an issue. If the request is for R-2 zoning and it was advertised as R-1 zoning, that may very well have induced people not to attend and voice their opinion.”
Chairman Maddox said “the resolution I just read, it was from RA (residential agricultural) to R-1 (single family residence). Now, Mr. Attorney, even though he is asking for R-2, we can’t vote, except on what’s the resolution calls for. Is that correct?” Mr. Jaugstetter replied, “no, once a request is made, you can grant an intermediate zoning classification, a different zoning classification.” Chairman Maddox questioned “what about the advertisement?” Mr. Jaugstetter stated “the request has been modified to some degree; it’s not a black and white issue. They come in to ask for something different; there is no rule that says automatically you cannot hear it, but I think the Board needs to take into consideration; number one, the public has notice there is a hearing; interested persons could appear and hear what was going on, but by the same token, the public didn’t know what the request was really for, based on the signage. I don’t know what the sign said; I don’t know if it said R-1 subject to R-2 conditions, or if it said R-2.”
Commissioner Freedman stated “when I saw this and it said R-1 with R-2 conditions, I said it’s a flim-flam; it’s R-2. It’s not R-1. I’ve got to tell you that’s the first thing he said, be fair with him. That Attorney stood up here and said that tonight. We don’t want to try to deceive anybody. It’s R-2. I’m not saying I’m agreeing with R-2; I’m just saying that he was being honest by standing up and saying that. When I looked at it and it’s the exact same thing I said was what he said. You call it what it is. Call a spade a spade, and he did. So that’s the only thing I wanted to clarify. I think that is why he said R-2 because he was being honest and saying, calling it R-1 with R-2 conditions is R-2; there’s no doubt about it.”
Mr. Harvey stated “Briefly, I want to be very clear that the application has been consistent from day one. The application that was filed was for 61.8 acres. That has never changed. Secondly, the application, as filed, was for R-1 with R-2 development standards. Take a look in the staff report. Smithfield Estates is zoned R-1 with R-2 development standards. That’s what it is zoned. What they did out there, I don’t know, but it’s zoned R-1 with R-2 development standards; that’s what we have asked for. The sign, as far as what we have asked for, is accurate. All that the State Zoning Procedures Law requires is that notice that the property is going to be rezoned be posted on it and that’s all that your Code requires. State Law requirements are in the Zoning Procedures Law and your Code has been satisfied per the sign that was posted on the property and per the advertisement that ran in the newspaper. These folks had more than sufficient time, this thing has been pending for at least since October, 2003, to go to the. . . the sign’s been out for a long time. . . to go to the Planning Department and pull the application. If they did that, they would see that the application and the site plan submitted was for 61.8 acres, R-1 with R-2 development standards. We’ve never tried to mislead anybody. And, I’ve tried to be up-front tonight because what we’ve asked for is exactly what I set forth in those zoning conditions to you from day one. We’ve never changed what we’ve asked for. I just said let’s call it R-2. Smithfield Estates, that’s what it’s zoned for, so I just said let’s call it what it is because it has been expressed by Mr. Freedman. . . knows that we just need to call a duck a duck and not something else, so we’ve done that. That said, there is no notice problem. Clearly the people are here tonight; the notice on this was tabled from last month. The only reason why I said R-2 is because that’s what it really is. Secondly, you have already set precedent tonight that you can grant something that’s other than what we are requesting. Mr. Welch’s second request this evening was amended up here at the podium to O & I and that’s what you all approved. You don’t have to approve solely what the advertisement was for. That’s not law in any jurisdiction in the State of Georgia. You can grant, as long as it’s advertised as a rezoning, you can zone it anything else when it comes before you. We submitted saying the RA zoning is unconstitutional and asked you to rezone it. We think R-2 or R-1 with R-2 development standards, if you want to call it that, that’s fine with us, we have no problem doing what we originally asked for; I’m just trying to be honest by changing this evening to R-2.
Mr. Harvey continued “the application has been correct from day one; the notice is correct; the folks have had more than ample opportunity to come to take a look at the application if they wanted to, check out and see what we’ve asked for. The only other thing I want to address is this lake and stream. I tried to be honest; I didn’t come out and say that in an effort to be brief and try to speed things along this evening, but that was my reason for dropping the 109 lots to 100 lots and telling you probably somewhere in the ballpark of 90 something is what we’re going to yield. We’ll probably lose ten lots or so because of the lake and because of the creek, as the gentleman pointed out. That was the reason for dropping the number of lots. So, we are cognizant the lake exists, the stream exists, and we’re going to take care of that. There’s nothing that prohibits us from them piping that creek if it does run back; there’s a blue line stream that crosses lots on the other side. They are going to adhere to whatever their requirements are for that and that’s the reason for reducing the number of lots to no more than 100, although I think it will be probably somewhere a little underneath that. I do think we’ve been honest with the public. We’ve never said anything other than basically R-2 development standards, and like I said before Smithfield Estates, contrary to what that gentleman stated, is zoned R-1 with R-2 development standards. If you pull out your staff report, that’s in there. It says in your staff report that that’s what that piece of property is zoned. We are asking, we’re across the street that we be treated the same way. These are high quality homes, they are clearly not going to have a negative impact on surrounding homes. I just can’t see how anybody can get up here and argue that $285 to $350,000 homes that are four sides brick or stone is going to negatively impact them. I don’t think that passes the last bit. As far as half-acre lots, I don’t see what the problem is with that, either; quite frankly I’ve never lived in a house on over a half-acre lot and I’ve lived in what I’d like to think is some pretty decent places as I was growing up and I’ve moved in since I’ve been married. I think they are quality homes and, like I said, given the fact that the church and school is there, it’s warranted. It’s directly what’s across the street. The entire other side of East Lake Road, the Land Use Plan calls for R-2. I don’t think that crossing East Lake Road is some justification that East Lake Road is some magical dividing line that warrants something other than that. I do think we’ve tried to address the concerns for quality the neighbors may have by proposing these conditions. These were conditions we came forward with and tried to make sure you are satisfied and comfortable with the quality of the product. I think we’ve done that and that said, I just ask for your approval this evening, subject to those conditions that were distributed, plus the ones I have gone over verbally with you. I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you may have.”
Commissioner Harper stated “I don’t think anybody has a problem with the quality of the homes. If you will remember, a year ago, we had a meeting in here and I think everybody agrees that the quality of the homes, and I don’t think there’s any problem with that, and I’m about to issue you my sincere apology, but the County Attorney just said the public didn’t get notice. I’m not about to grant a zoning based on that advice, even assuming we’re going to approve it. You have been upfront with me, Mr. Harvey, and the applicant the whole time. Mr. Freedman is correct, they have asked for the same thing from day one. They asked initially for R-1 conditional because that’s what was done years ago with Smithfield and I think that was a mistake. And I don’t even know that we should have granted the zoning for that entire neighborhood, but that’s water over the dam and it’s been done. Based on that and my discussions with some of the Board members, as we have been discussing it here, I think we need to table this and readvertise it R-2 if that is indeed what we are going to consider granting. And I know we can do anything when you have a zoning on the floor, but we have never. . .; if somebody asks for C-2, sure we drop down to O & I, we go backwards and give a lesser zoning. We have never gone forward and granted a higher density than what the applicant has asked for, and I’m not trying to say you tried to pull the wool over, you were up front with me the whole time and I understood what you were asking for, but having him say that on the record, I don’t think we have any other choice but to move this, put the signs back out at R-2 and readvertise this again, and I’m going to go one step further, and that is, next Monday, May 24th, at 5:30 p.m., a few of you have called me on the phone, I’m going to make myself available. I will be here in this building in the smaller conference room across the hall, Monday, May 24th, at 5:30 p.m. and Mr. Harvey and the applicant are more than welcome to come and we’ll have the zoning file there and everybody can look through it. That way everybody knows before they get here exactly what the applicant is asking for. We can work on it once again. We did that a year ago, but I want the record to be clear because if we grant a zoning I don’t want anybody to say that we’re suddenly granting higher densities than what’s asked for. I’m just not going to set that precedent, and that’s going to be my motion.”
Commissioner Adams seconded the motion.
Commissioner Freedman asked “is this a watershed or watershed critical area?” Chairman Maddox asked what the width of the property is. Mr. Harvey stated there is approximately 190 or 192 feet of frontage along East Lake Road.
Mr. Harvey stated “if you are not willing to approve it as R-2 tonight, then approve it per the advertisement per the request of R-1 with R-2 development standards. There is a precedent for it directly across the street. My clients have been involved in this property for almost a year. They are paying interest on it to the tune of almost over $10,000 per month. This is a huge burden to them to delay this further because of something that there’s no legal basis to do. The law does not require that this be advertised again. All that it requires is that it be advertised for rezoning and that has been done. The State Zoning Procedures law and your Code requirements have been satisfied. It’s going to require that this be pushed back a minimum of probably 30 days, if not more, and my clients, like I said, are spending a tremendous amount of money every month; it pushes back everything and is a huge burden on them. This has been tabled once. I think, as you pointed out Mr. Harper, been honest with everybody and up front. What we’ve asked for has never changed from day one, and those conditions that are before you have not changed a thing. Actually we are reducing the number of lots. I’ll submit to you what I’m proposing tonight is less density and less of an impact than what was applied for and was heard at previous hearings in the Planning Commission meeting. I don’t think there’s a legal problem with approving it tonight as applied for and we are more than willing to take that risk and move forward because, like I said, we are in front of monthly interest payments on this property. They really cannot stand to continue to bear that burden and this just hanging out there. With that, I would just ask that you approve it as applied for and as advertised. If there is some sort of problem with it just approving it as R-2, I don’t believe, in any other jurisdiction, it’s never been a problem.”
Mr. Jaugstetter stated, “I don’t know if I said it, I don’t disagree with what he said. I think from a legal standpoint it has been sufficiently advertised and the public is on notice that there is a hearing. The point I was trying to make, and I think it is something for the Board to consider, is whether the public was notified about what was going to happen, not from a purely legal standpoint, but from a fairness standpoint. I don’t think by voting tonight you are violating any law.”
Ms. Kimberly Smith responded to Commissioner Freedman’s question concerning the watershed issue. Ms. Smith stated “this property is not in the watershed.”
Mr. Boyd stated “we beg to differ with that. We have an application. I sent one of my staff members over to the Planning and Zoning Office and we have a copy of the application we got last week. We asked if they made a request, a different application. I have a copy here. It shows 104.25 acres on the application new got last week. The attorneys talking, you may have satisfied it from RA to R-1, you can call it anything you want to, R-1 conditions, that’s not anything that’s in this Zoning manual. It may be legally advertised, but is it right for the residents of Henry County. I say no, they have not been adequately noticed of what the intent of this development is. So we’re asking you to start the process over again and legally advertise it so that the residents will know exactly what they are trying to get because three of my clients called when the sign went back up and said it said RA to R-1. He said we won’t fight that. I said great, let’s get the package and see what they are trying to do. When you call to the Planning and Zoning Office and asked what is RA to R-1, they would tell you that’s one acre. That’s not what is happening here. Now is that legal. According to these attorneys, it’s legal. Is it right, according to the residents, I would suggest it is not right. They keep making reference to the Smithfield and we would submit to you that if you zone it exactly like Smithfield, what you call it, you have the right to make the conditions, but I disagree from a legal standpoint that they have the right to make the conditions to bring to you. What they are asking is a perfect R-2 zoning with sewer. Why not call it that and let the public know and you vote on it. But they keep making reference to Smithfield. We just request that you give them the same zoning that Smithfield had with a net density of one unit per acre.”
Ms. Linda Lequire, John Elliott Road, stated “it took me ten minutes this afternoon to go from Highway 155 down to John Elliott Road because we have not two schools, but we have three schools there. You are talking about the density. I live on a lot that is five acres and most all of the people on John Elliott Road live on five acres. I don’t think we are opposing. You’ve heard from the other gentleman, we’re not opposing the houses, the standard there. The Charles Gower Subdivision is off John Elliott Road, but it is limited in density, and to put 90 homes feeding back into East Lake and heaven forbid that you would allow access from John Elliott Road. I fear for my life daily. If I leave my driveway between the hours of 7:00 and 9:00 in the morning and in the afternoons between 2:30 and 4:30, the traffic is terrible because it is a cut-through. And the access on East Lake Road is going to be greater, as well as if you’ll go count the trailers, and I know we are getting a new school down on 20, but we have a high school there and a middle school that has trailers already. That density makes a difference. And, it also lowers our standard and quality of life that we have moved to Henry County for and that we are proud of Henry County.”
Commissioner Holman stated “even in my limited travels I have heard citizens that live in that area mention to me that the signage had R-1 on it. So, I’m kind of in agreement with the County Attorney’s opinion that yes, we’ve advertised, however, the citizens, at least the ones I have talked to, they told me they felt it was really misadvertised. They were kind of laughing at it. Mr. Harvey has made a wonderful statement about the Board being able to zone property that is not applied for. In this case he has advertised for R-1 and at the podium he is requesting R-2. It’s fully within the power of this Board to zone that R-1, which would be on one acre lots. This Board could do that tonight and it would satisfy the citizens out there in that area. Another motion we can make that would satisfy them is we could make a motion for denial. Of course, then this Board would have to continue to fight that in the Courts. The Chairman has raised a point that I have not been able to resolve with the exhibits that are in front of us, but the statement that you have a 100 foot frontage on your property. I was told today that we need 150 feet minimum for an accel/decel lane, plus the taper. I’m not an engineer and all that, but it looks like a flag lot in our exhibit; it doesn’t look like you even have enough frontage to make an accel/decel lane.”
Mr. Harvey said “my understanding there is 190 feet of road frontage.” Commissioner Holman stated “that’s something I wish staff would certainly do because I believe this Board is going to approve a motion to table so that Commissioner Harper can meet with the citizens and the applicant and work another miracle.”
Mr. Harvey stated “the only point I’d like to make is if anybody has been to see, it’s not our fault, the application which, I believe, staff said clearly said, R-1 conditional. That was what was filed. The site plan has never changed so I don’t think if anybody pulled a copy of the application and they said they could have been deceived about what was actually being asked. If you pull the application, there are 109 lots on 61.8 acres and it said R-1 conditions. I think it has been clear from day one, so I don’t understand how anybody could be deceived about anything. They have some obligation to do some due diligence on their own. I think they have done that. Obviously they are here tonight and they a copy of the application, so I’d argue there is no real need to readvertise anything. We’re just asking for your approval.”
Commissioner Holman said “staff normally gives us a photograph of the signage, the notification signage. I don’t seem to have it in my exhibit and can you read to us what that little yellow sign said?” Ms. Smith said the sign that was posted for the Planning Commission said RA to R-1; the sign that was posted for the Board of Commissioners’ meeting said RA to R-1, with R-2 development standards.
Commissioner Harper’s motion to table to the next available meeting passed by a vote of 4-1, with Commissioners Holder, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor; and Commissioner Freedman opposed. Commissioner Freedman said “I thought we should resolve this tonight.”
Ms. Smith asked for a clarification from the applicant whether it is “R-2 on sewer or R-2 on septic tank.” Mr. Harvey responded “R-2 on sewer.” Commissioner Harper asked staff to make sure this matter is advertised on the sign as R-2 and to run an ad for R-2. Commissioner Holman asked what the minimum lot size on R-2 with sewer. Ms. Smith responded it is 18,000 square feet. Commissioner Freedman stated “on their plat the minimum lot size was 22,000.”
Mr. Edward Toney, 894 Upper Woolsey Road, addressed the Board as follows:
“As you know I am a candidate from District II, but I do have a question concerning Tara Field Airport and the partnership we are developing with Clayton County. My question is, and this is the information I am getting. Henry County has set aside a million dollars to participate in the purchase of property which amounts to $13 million. My question to you is, has this deal been consummated and where we stand on this deal at this time.”
Chairman Maddox asked Mr. Jaugstetter to respond. Mr. Jaugstetter stated “if you would like me to, but we generally don’t discuss the acquisition of real estate in public meetings.” Commissioner Harper said “his question was, has the deal been consummated. The answer to that would be no.”
Mr. Toney asked “will the public have any input into the deal on this airport?” Commissioner Freedman answered “yes.” Chairman Maddox said the public has already had some input. Mr. Toney asked “in what way has the public been involved?” Commissioner Freedman said “if any member of the public has comment they want us to hear about that, they should bring it to us, get on the schedule so you will have enough time and tell us your feelings about that.”
Mr. Toney asked “when will this be available that you plan to make a decision on this deal with the airport?” Chairman Maddox said there is not a time set, but it has been discussed for some time.
Mr. Toney stated “we’re talking about $13 million worth of bonds that we were talking about issuing for that property, to purchase property.” Chairman Maddox stated “when the times comes we will be notifying the public and they could come or if they would like to come address the Board on an agenda item, we would listen. Would that be appropriate?” Mr. Jaugstetter said “you certainly could if that is what you choose to do. You know we typically don’t advertise in advance about the potential acquisition of real estate and there is a good reason for that. We don’t want to blow the market.” Mr. Toney said “I think we’ve got a close market here anyway. We’re dealing with another County entity, so I don’t think we can blow the market when this is a public airport.”
Commissioner Adams said “there is some land involved there that somebody else could buy.” Mr. Toney said “one other thing I would ask, that if this deal does continue, that Mr. Adams not participate in those proceedings. He is biased by being a Clayton County employee. My understanding was that that was part of his deal when he went to the airport was to foster this deal between the Board of Commissioners and Clayton County Board of Commissioners. So I would ask that the Board consider keeping him out of this deal with the airport.”
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Commissioner Freedman made a motion to approve minutes for the May 3 and May 10, 2004, Board of Commissioners’ meetings; Commissioner Adams seconded.
Commissioner Holman stated one change needs to be made on the May 3rd minutes (page three) where “Holder” should read “Holman.”
The amended minutes passed by a vote of 4-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Holman and Adams in favor. (Commissioner Harper abstained.)
Ms. Angus announced there is no reason to hold an executive session this evening.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to amend the agenda to delete executive session; Commissioner Adams seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Harper, Adams and Holman in favor.
Commissioner Harper made a motion to adjourn (9:00 p.m.); Commissioner Adams seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 5-0, with Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Adams, Harper and Holman in favor.
Leland Maddox, Chairman
Susan B. Craig, County Clerk