Rezoning for a piece of property, located at 2269 Rest Haven Road, for the purpose of a recycling center was unanimously denied by the Upson County Board of Commissioners at their meeting last week due to their being no other M-2 zoning in the area. Plus, the site is relatively small and would not allow for much construction due to the 100-foot setbacks that would be required. Denial had previously been recommended by Planning and Zoning Director Doug Currier, II and the Upson County Planning Commission as well.
Currier told the board the property is owned by Donald Bohannon, but is leased to Willie Webb, who currently runs The Rock Repair Service from that location. He noted Webb had stated the property would be used for a lawn mower and small engine repair shop, not a recycling center, when he came in to obtain the occupational tax certificate, which is permitted under the current zoning of C-2. Allegedly, Webb was already operating the recycling center when he went to get the certificate.
“Obviously he presented this was going to be a lawn mower and small engine repair shop, but there seems to be more going on than what was originally discussed,” said Currier.
He also stated there is a building that has been placed on the property for the use of a small office; however Webb never obtained a permit to put the building there.
Prior to the vote, Webb told the board the area had been used as a junk yard for the last 10-15 years by the previous tenant and he feels the property should have been rezoned a long time ago. Charles Harp ran a salvage yard on the property for many years, however he occupied a much larger space than the four-acre tract and his business was basically located on Highway 36.
The board also heard from Joel Edmondson, who lives just down the street from the proposed site. He is against there being a recycling center due to the road not being able to handle the types of truck traffic that would come through and he has environmental concerns for the area.
“My primary objection to opening such as facility on Rest Haven begins with the fact that Rest Haven is currently classified as ‘No Thru Trucks’ in order to inhibit the amount of heavy traffic simply because the road is not designed for that amount of traffic,” said Edmondson. “It has been previously noted that there is right now a rather heavy amount of truck traffic due to timber harvesting, but one would suppose that timber harvesting at some point would come to an end.”
Edmondson continued stating he is concerned about the effects such a facility could have on the environment of the area. He noted there are several homes nearby that draw their drinking water from shallow wells and he has not seen anything to serve as a way to capture the effluence that goes along with a recycling center and could contaminate the drinking supply.
“I just feel it is not in the best interest of the community and for the property owners for this recycling center to proceed,” said Edmondson.
Commissioner Ralph Ellington stated he had been out to the property and talked with several of the nearby residents. He noted while he is all for business, entrepreneurship and people making money, he does not think this piece of property is the proper location for a recycling center. He, like Currier, noted there is an Industrial Park in Upson County that is already zoned for this type of business and he would love to see Webb obtain a piece of land out there and proceed with his business; however he cannot support it opening on Rest Haven Road. Therefore, he offered a motion of denial, which was seconded by Commissioner Lorenzo Wilder and approved by the board.
In other business, the commissioners approved the rezoning of Q and R Inc., Convenience Store on Atwater Road. The business already had a grandfathered status when it comes to zoning, however the current owners, Prya Sharma and Quader Quddoos, wanted to have the correct zoning for the building so if anything were to happen to it, it could be rebuilt. The property which was zoned A-R, will now be zoned C-2.
Finally, the board approved a rezoning for the property of the former Shreno’s restaurant, located on Highway 36 West, which lost its grandfathered status when the building was foreclosed on last year. The property is now owned by Southeastern Real Estate Development LLC., which is trying to sell the property. The only issue Currier noted was that the lot is only .93 acres and does not meet the one acre minimum now designated for lot size in the county’s code. However, any parcel created prior to 1995 is permanently grandfathered in when it comes to size. He noted that the area is surrounded by residential property and while this is not normally a logical place for a restaurant, there is a history there. The board agreed and approved the change from A-R to C-2.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1