Three different pieces of property were approved for rezoning by the Upson County Commissioners at their regular meeting held on August 12. All three of the applications had been approved by the Upson County Planning Commission before coming before the board for final approval.
One application was for the rezoning of 337 acres which covers what used to be the Hickory Ridge Golf Course, currently owned by Old Course Properties, LLC. The property line runs along Thompson Road, Hickory Ridge Drive and Dornoch Lane and was requested to be changed from its’ current zoning of P-M (planned development mixed use) to A-R (Agricultural-Rural). Attorney Ed Trice, Jr., representing the property owners, told the board the development plan no longer exists and has not been exercised in the last few years. He continued noting the zoning ordinance requires property to revert back to its’ original zoning if the current zoning is not in use.
The property was first rezoned with the P-M designation in 1997 with the intention of a golf course being built with lots for houses to be sold around the course. When the issue was presented to the Upson County Planning Commission, it was noted that of the 37 lots, only five or six were actually sold and there are currently only two houses with occupants. One of the residents, Michael Pressley, had told the commission he would like to see the zoning changed so the property could be perhaps have some occupancy for safety reasons. Planning and Zoning Director Doug Currier, II, stated the five single-family residential units will stay zoned as P-M. He also noted the A-R zoning is appropriate for the use of the land and he and the commission recommended approval.
The board of commission agreed and granted the rezoning request. A special exception has been filed for 14 acres of the property and the clubhouse, to be used for the purpose of a church. The Planning Commission will have final say on that matter at their regular meeting on September 8.
Rezoning for 1.06 acres located at 3347 Crest Highway from R-2 to C-2, was also granted by the board. Tom Pollard, who owns the land, told the board the heating and air conditioning company has been located on the property has been in existence for quite some time and he just wanted to have it in the correct zoning district. Currier noted there are other C-2 zoned properties in the area and the current use does not fit with the current zoning, therefore he recommended the change. The board unanimously approved the request.
The final zoning issue to come before the board earlier this month was for 10.74 acres on an unaddressed property off of Andrews Chapel Road. The property is part of a family compound owned by Peter “Beau” Durham and his brother, and brother-in-law and is a small section of a larger 888 acres owned by the family. The request was made to change the zoning from A-R (agriculture-rural) to R-4 (single-family dwellings) for the purpose of building three cabins and one joint lodge for a family retreat, along with one shared driveway. Currier noted the A-R zoning only allows for one structure to be built on the property and the surrounding use of the area was the rest of the family’s property. The request was approved unanimously.
In other business, the commissioners voted to abandon a portion of Old Antioch Church on Delray Road and give the land back to the property owners. The section of land had been part of the church in the early 1900s when Delray Road intersected with Highway 19 at a different spot. In the early 1950s the intersection was changed to the current location, leaving roughly a quarter of an acre that is landlocked by surrounding property in the county’s name. Commissioner Ralph Ellington stated he had spoken with the property owners on either side of this tract and they all had no issue with the change being made. The property will now go back on the county tax books.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, the board heard from Anthony Muhammad about the Lincoln Park community. Mr. Muhammad alleged the commissioners have not done much to help the area and asked the board to start making it a priority because there are not services in the area like in other parts of the community. Chairman Rusty Blackston told the gentleman that in recent years, the county has put millions upon millions of dollars into the area in efforts to renovate housing, put in water infrastructure, playgrounds, and small civic center-like facilities.
“Sir, what we need is community involvement,” said Blackston. “There are some groups down there (in Lincoln Park) now that are starting things up. So, if you will just give them some time and give this board some time, I imagine you will see some improvements.”
Finally, Connie Wall was approved to the Library Board.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1