April 4, 2019
There have now been two hearings about allowing a “Special Events Business” to operate in the Agriculture Districts of the county. The first was before the P&Z Board, and applicant Julie Rowland had many of her “neighbors” there to tell the board that they had no objections to her wedding venue business. Well, why should they? Only one of them lives in Jasper County. The rest live elsewhere and only own property in the area.
After reviewing the Board of Assessors website, we found that Steve Thompson, who said he was the HOA President of gated subdivision The Farms at King Plow, actually lives in Eatonton. Steven Young, the next door “neighbor” who he had no problem with it, lives in Griffin. Another “neighbor” that owns property lives in Florida. Deborah Shaw, who also spoke in favor and owns several lots with her husband, King Shaw, lives in Atlanta. The people that own property directly across Post Rd. also live in Atlanta. Only One person that spoke, Mr. Dailey, actually lives on the property in the subdivision. None of the others that spoke even have houses on the property, according to the BOA website.
Of course, a wedding venue or any other special event is all OK with them, because they will not be the ones listening to the noise or dealing with the traffic or anything else whenever there is an event.
See more information about the P&Z hearing by clicking here.
Monday night (April 1st) at the BOC meeting, there was another public hearing; it was considered the first reading of the text amendment. The text amendment is still not up on the BOC website for observation by the public. The Monticello News has also failed to give much coverage to the controversial amendment to the county code.
FOR THE AMENDMENT:
The applicant, Julie Rowland, said she brought forward the text amendment, and had been working with Shane Sealy on it for the last year. She said she wanted to have a wedding venue, and had no intention to interrupt neighbors. She again repeated that all her neighbors were in favor. Ms. Rowland bought the property in May 2017.
This property is located on Post Road between Smith Brock Road and Liberty Church Rd. And even though the text amendment is to help her establish a business, it will impact every single person in the AG district if the text amendment is allowed. Additionally, Ms. Rowland’s property is zoned RESIDENTIAL, not AG according to the BOA records.
Tom Joye, with the Chamber of Commerce, was also for the text amendment. He said a well organized and well regulated center would be a boon to the County.
AGAINST THE AMENDMENT
Mary Patrick begged the BOC to not destroy the AG district, the land use map, and comprehensive plan for the AG district for one applicant. She emphasized this is not for “A” special event, but for a special event business to operate year ’round. Ms. Patrick also brought up the items in the text where the P&Z director would have discretion:
- The intensity and frequency “will be determined by the P&Z director.”
- “Similar uses to be determined by P&Z director”
She told the BOC that these discretions leave the process open to corruption with possible bribes and kickbacks to get permit.
Scott Harris, who lives next to Bennett Cove, told of his problems with that “wedding venue” and the lack of enforcement. He suggested that the BOC consider a variance instead of changing the rules for the entire county. He suggested the use of VP Zoning (Village Plan which allows mixed uses) for the applicant and her subdivision.
Cathy Benson said that passing this text amendment would be a blatant disregard for everyone in AG district and those that came here to live in AG district.
Susan Hansen told the BOC that she had put up with Bennett Cove for 8 years. and has been ignored, and questioned, “Who will see these rules are followed?” Then answered, “No one!”
The Sheriff asked to speak and said he and David Ozburn (county attorney) could work together to make the text amendment enforceable from the Law Enforcement standpoint.
Comm. Bruce Henry seemed to be the only one that thought about the consequences. He said, “The term Receptions leave this wide open. It should be stated as wedding receptions.” He also agreed that #6 (corporate events) and #7 (at the discretion of the P&Z Director) should be removed because there are so many wide open options. He also thought a listed curfew, for when the event has to be over, was appropriate. Comm. Pennamon directed Shane Sealy to interject those suggestions into the text amendment.
Even with changes, the BOC MUST consider all the people living in AG district that this will affect to accommodate ONE person who will have lived here 2 years in May.
It is our opinion that there should be NO text amendment allowing special events or special event businesses in the AG district. The BOC should consider rezoning the private subdivision to a Village Plan as suggested at the BOC meeting or having Mrs. Rowland ask for a home occupation variance.
The BOC needs to consider the people that have bought property in Jasper County in the AG district. The BOC should not approve a text amendment that will destroy the AG district of Jasper County. The biggest reason people want to live here is for the peace and quiet and enjoyment as well as for farming.
If you live in the AG district or enjoy having Jasper County rural and beautiful, please contact each and every commissioner:
Carl Pennamon (Lives in City)
District 1 – Chairman
Cell (762) 435-9766
Bruce Henry (Lives in AG district)
Cell (706) 819-3943
Don Jernigan (Lives in Turtle Cove)
Cell: (404) 401-1378
Gerald Stunkel (Lives in Turtle Cove)
Home: (706) 468-0329
Work: (770) 775-0405
Doug Luke (Lives in a Subdivision)
Tel: (706) 819-3933
Citizens, be informed and stay informed! Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County. That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.