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Bulloch Local Government

Bulloch Commission Approves Commercial Rezone on Hwy 67, New 45-Lot Subdivision

During the Bulloch Commission meeting on March 1, 2022, two zoning items were approved by commissioners. Both projects had vocal opposition from adjoining landowners.

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Daniel W. and Angela K. Adams submitted an application to rezone 5.5 acres from AG-5 (Agricultural 5 acres) to HC (Highway Commercial) for the use of sales and service of utility trailers. The property is located on Hwy. 67

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Planning & Zone Staff recommended DENIAL of this application.
The Planning & Zoning Board voted 5-0 to DENY this application in December 2021 and February 2022.

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  • The Bulloch County Joint Comprehensive Plan indicates that the property is in a rural-neighborhood area where only R-40 and R-80 zones are recommended.
  • There are primarily rural residential and agricultural uses at adjacent and nearby properties. However, there is some limited commercial development at SR 46 and at Brooklet Denmark Road.
  • Values for adjacent properties may not necessarily be enhanced by the proposed development unless aesthetic restrictions are required, and, if enforcement of governmental land use and property maintenance regulations is applied.
  • No information on potable water or fire suppression is addressed in the application. On-site water supply would be required. Same for septic.
  • Given the type of the development, access and traffic impact will need to be determined by the GDOT

SUPPORT

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During Tuesday’s meeting, Tony Crosby spoke on behalf the property owner as he is the listing agent. He discussed the county’s comprehensive plan which reads out that the plan encourages entrepreneurship with commercial and industrial sites. He also noted that another property is zoned commercial approximately 200 yards from the site proposed for the Adams property prospect. Crosby closed by suggesting to commissioners that the property is too small for industrial development and unfit for residential home building.

Daniel and Kim Adams also addressed commissioners and implored them to grant the variance in the spirit of supporting small businesses.

OPPOSITION

A resident with property adjacent to the prospective property said she and her family own all of the adjacent property. They oppose the rezone because of the impact it will have on land that should be preserved ‘for the lifestyle of Bulloch County,’ per the comprehensive plan. She also expressed concerns about:

  • GDOT reports of daily travel totaling 11,897 cars,
  • the current placement of the property does not allow a legal left hand turn into or out of
  • the close proximity of wetlands,
  • negative impacts on surrounding land because she was recently approached about purchases of her property, but they don’t want it if the property is rezoned,
  • other uses permitted under the rezone classification, including auto salvage yards

Another individual spoke in opposition and asked commissioners to consider ‘what is already known,’ including:

  • commercial zones already exist on Highway 67 without the need to rezone where crossroads already exist.
  • rezoning near active agricultural uses,
  • there are other available properties in the existing commercial zones

COMMISSION COMMENTS

Rushing: He said the county engineer and another county employee were at the location Tuesday and noted the driveway could be moved, if necessary and if approved by GDOT.

County Attorney Jeff Akins reminded commissioners to avoid wading into the issue of the private property concerns and easements between the two landowners.

Gibson asked if Adams planned to install his own well and septic tank. Adams confirmed he would.

Chairman Roy Thompson called for a motion to be made to move forward. After a long silence and a second request for a motion, Commissioner Jappy Stringer made a motion to approve the request with conditions recommended by P&Z. The measure passed unanimously.

P&Z recommended the following conditions:

https://www.thegeorgiavirtue.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/conditions-Adams-utility-trailers.pdf

R & H Development Company, Inc. submitted an application to rezone 42.67 acres from AG-5 (Agricultural 5 acres) to R-25 (Residential 25,000 square feet) for a new single family residence subdivision –Silverleaf– with 45 lots. The property is located on T H Lee Road.

The proposed price would be $250,000 homes with a green space park, paved streets, and community water.

P&Z voted 5-0 to recommend approval of this application with conditions based on the following concerns/impacts:

SUPPORT

James Anderson spoke in favor of the application.

OPPOSITIONS

Judy McCorkle referenced a 2007 and 2008 rezone request on a parcel just north of the one up currently. She said it was twice denied by Commissioners because the property was not suitable for the request in the same area and it was rezoned by the same property owner. Commissioners finally gave approval of the rezone in 2011, but the same developer never developed a single home in 11 years, McCorkle said.

Another landowner, McCorkle’s son-in-law, spoke against the rezone request based on the following concerns:

  • the unavoidable increase in traffic;
  • the fact that the 2007 rezone denial said the access to the road/lots was inadequate for public safety, which has not changed;
  • the departmental review indicates the ISO rating will increase for current homeowners – from a ‘2’ to a ‘9,’ which will negatively impact existing landowners;
  • across Clito Road, another property was recently rezoned to R-25 for the same developer, even though it was zoned for county open space, which furthers his concern about too much development.

He also asked commissioners to confirm they did not receive campaign contributions from the developer because that portion of the zoning application was not completed.

Bill T. Akers also spoke in opposition of the land rezone. “Where do we stop with these houses? Soon you’re going to have to have a helo-pad to get out of there. It already takes a while to turn on the road as it is,” he said. Akers also emphasized his concerns about the necessary law enforcement personnel to patrol the area.

SUPPORT

Robbie Bell was given an opportunity to rebut what the opposition said. He addressed McCorkle’s comments, saying the property was not developed after the rezone in 2011 because of the recession. “It’s only been the last 2 or 3 years that we’ve seen a really active real estate market in Bulloch County,” Bell said.

With regard to EMS and the Sheriff’s Office, Bell said, “They’re two miles down the road. I don’t see how that’s a problem.”

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

Gibson asked when the developer expected to begin construction. Bell told him the property would take a year to engineer and design followed by time to pave the road before they begin construction.

“I’m assuming the economy will hold up, if I had these lots today, I could sell them. But I would say I hope two years,” Bell said.

Ultimately, when Chairman Thompson called for a motion, the application was approved unanimously.

The conditions proposed are below.

https://www.thegeorgiavirtue.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/anderson-subdivision-lot-application.pdf

Jessica Szilagyi
Written By

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of The Georgia Virtue. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta, a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast,' and she has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers." Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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