Rezonings approved in Walton County, but one development may be doomed

Four rezoning applications for property development were approved by the Walton County Board of Commissioners last week. The conditions on one in the Loganville area, however, may condemn the development before it gets off the ground.

Attorney Andrea Gray addresses Walton County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 10, 2017 on a controversial rezoning. Photo credit: Melanie Jackson
Attorney Andrea Gray addresses Walton County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 10, 2017 on a controversial rezoning. Photo credit: Melanie Jackson

An application by attorney Andrea Gray on behalf of Mark Watson to allow for mini warehouses and outside storage on Georgia Highway 81 in Commission District 1 was eventually approved, but with conditions. It was the condition that only one entry and exit point be allowed on Highway 81 so as not to affect the Walton Mill Estates subdivision that Gray said would likely not be approved by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The application had asked for an exit also from Walton Mill Estates.

The public hearing on this application generated controversy with residents from five communities turning out to oppose it. Tricia Garmon spoke on behalf of the group, detailing some of the reasons for the objections.
Tricia Garmon, a resident of Watson Mill Estates voices the objections of residents. Photo credit: Melanie Jackson
Tricia Garmon, a resident of Watson Mill Estates voices the objections of residents. Photo credit: Melanie Jackson

“There are six storage buildings within a two-mile radius of our communities. The entrance to the storage buildings would be through Watson Mills Estates,” she said, going on to ask that a decision be delayed until a replacement for the late Commissioner Clinton Ayers is seated. She also requested that, if approved, at least that the entrance be limited to Highway 81.

Commission Chairman Kevin Little said that April is the earliest a new commission could be appointed to fill the seat and Commissioner Mark Banks thanked the community for its interest, but noted that the property owner had the right to request the designation change to his property for his business purposes and to use his property as he sees fit.

Commissioner Lee Bradford tried to table the issue for a month until someone is appointed to replace Ayers, but the motion failed with just Commissioner Jeremy Adams supporting it. A second vote at the end of the hearing passed with specific conditions. Bradford voted against the motion and Adams abstained, which allowed it to pass with Little, Banks and Commissioners Timmy Shelnutt and Kirklyn Dixon voting to approve it.

The vote for approval included the conditions that the outside stores by restricted to recreational vehicles and watercraft in working order. It also included the condition that a fence be put up along Highway 81 and that an opaque fence be installed along the perimeter of the property so people in the Watson Mill subdivision do not have to look at it every day as well as that no entrance be allowed through the Walton Mill subdivision.

All four of the rezoning applications on the public hearing agenda were approved, including one for a solar farm on Gratis Road and another on a business park on Tuck Road. Click or tap on the links below for information on each development.

%d bloggers like this: