Upson County will soon be home to a new special events venue now that the Board of Commissioners have approved the rezoning of a piece of property located at 1516 Barnesville Highway. The property is a portion of the larger estate of J.A. Pasley and was petitioned to be rezoned by Kevin and Cathy Corley for the purpose of hosting events such as weddings, baby and wedding showers, rehearsal dinners and anniversary parties. A public hearing was held prior to the vote and everyone who spoke was in favor of the establishment.
“We are real excited about opening this up and to be a service to the community,” said Shirley Hutchings. “We are excited about the improvements we are making on the land and we are ready to get started.”
Planning and Zoning Director Doug Currier, II told the board the request is to rezone the property from A-R to C-2 and the property meets almost all of the requirements for that change. There is only one setback requirement that is not met in dealing with the front yard. The requirement states any structures on the property should be 100 feet from the center line and 35 feet from the property line; Currier noted the current structure, which is an old home on the property, is 53 feet from the center line and 21 feet from the property line. He did not feel this was a major issue and it is outweighed by the benefits of the proposed use.
“The point I want to make in terms of the use is this is an old home that I have been told has been empty for quite a while,” said Currier. “So you are finally going to get a use in there that is going to benefit it, make it more attractive. And it is not going to tear it (the house) down and put a generic gas station or drug store that you could find just about anywhere else.”
Currier did point out that with only one driveway onto the property; problems could arise with traffic on Barnesville Highway if there was a large event.
“If they are really successful and have 70, 80 or 90 cars showing up at one time it could cause a problem on Barnesville Highway. You’ve got a suicide lane in the middle and only one lane going the other direction, so I can see where this could potentially require the owners to get somebody out there to control traffic. It would probably be more advantageous if they had another access point, but that is the only issue with the proposed use.”
The property is located near the corner of Barnesville Highway and Knight Trail and due to the closeness to the city limits; it had to go before the joint planning commission as well as the Upson County Planning Commission. Both boards recommended approval of the rezoning as did Currier, and the county commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the rezoning.
In other business, Chairman Rusty Blackston stated the board had been having discussions with Sheriff Dan Kilgore and E-911 Director Carl McKinney about the county’s E-911 equipment. The E-911 equipment is becoming very outdated and it is getting increasingly more difficult to find parts when something breaks. McKinney also noted the phone system that was purchased for E-911 ten years ago was not “next generation,” meaning that it cannot receive text messages. He continued, stating the Federal Government is now requiring all E-911 systems to be “next generation.” The estimated cost for updating the system is somewhere between $200,000-$300,000 plus, according to Blackston. The board approved a motion to allow Sheriff Kilgore to send out request for proposals on the equipment.
During the meeting, Blackston asked the board to consider making some changes when it comes to how long an animal can stay at the Upson County Animal Shelter. Currently, if an animal is picked up, the owners have three days to reclaim it before it is put up for adoption. If no one claims it at the end of the three days, then the animal is put up for adoption for two days. Blackston wants the board to consider changing that time period to four or five days for possible adoption so the public has more of an opportunity to see the animal. He also noted the board needs to develop a policy that outlines what is and is not acceptable to work with the rescue groups who have been helping to adopt the animals out and to have them spayed and neutered. Blackston commended the various groups for their efforts and told the board they had spayed or neutered 135-140 animals in just the first four months of this year; noting the more animals that are fixed, the lower the amount of unwanted litters for the shelter to deal with. The commissioners are to review the ordinance and plan to make a decision by the next meeting.
The board approved a resolution of support for the possibility of making Highway 36 four lane, or at the least adding passing lanes. Blackston told the board the counties of Pike, Lamar and Butts have all signed off on supporting the project, which is still on the GDOT’s radar. Commissioner Steve Hudson noted that in 2005 when the county designated $1.8 million SPLOST funds to go for this project, Upson could not get any support from the surrounding counties and the money was given back as tax relief to the citizens because the GDOT said the project was not feasible. He continued stating that he is all for trying to get the project started again.
Finally, the commissioners approved a bid of $444,168.49 with Georgia Asphalt Inc. for the resurfacing of 4.3 miles on Hendricks Church Road. Hudson noted $150,000 of the project is being paid for by the LMIG (Local Maintenance Improvement Grant) and the rest is coming out of the SPLOST funds which were allotted for the project.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1