After much discussion at the May meeting of the Upson County Planning Commission, the board decided to allow a variance hearing for Billy Thompson, who is wishing to place a 40x40 dry stackhouse to store litter for his chicken farm located on Morgan Road. Normally, this would not be a problem, but when Mr. Thompson went to apply for his building permit, he was informed that the property did not meet the code requiring a 200- foot setback from each property line for the placement of the stackhouse.
Thompson told the board he bought the property in May of 2012 from the bank after it had been foreclosed on and according to the deed, all easements and codes are in alignment with current protocol. He stated that it is his understanding if the land is not in compliance, then the buyers is supposed to be informed of that. Planning and Zoning Director Doug Currier noted that the plot of land, which was originally owned by Wayne Watson, was illegally split, which caused the property to not allow for enough space for the setback which was established in 2004. Currier also noted the split of the land was done three years after the ordinance was put in place, meaning it was not grandfathered in.
Thompson noted that if he is not able to get a variance, he will be forced to stack the litter in front of the chicken houses until he is able to sell it or spread it on his property, which could be anywhere from six weeks to three months. He also noted that without the variance, he would not even be able to rebuild his chicken houses if they were destroyed by a tornado because they would not meet the code requirement of 200 feet from each property line.
“I am just trying to do what’s right and make a living,” said Thompson. “I am only asking the same thing of you and to put yourself in my position.”
Thompson also thanked Currier for all of his help in this situation and stated that he understood he was only following the law, but appreciated his willingness to help. Mr. Currier also noted that he appreciated the professionalism that Mr. Thompson has displayed throughout their time of working together.
After discussing the matter, the board decided to overturn Currier’s interpretation of the law, noting that while he did interpret the law correctly, since it would affect the livelihood of Mr. Thompson and was through no fault of his own they would allow for a variance hearing. The hearing will be scheduled to come before the board in roughly three weeks.