Wednesday, December 16, 1998
Facing a standing-room-only crowd of petitioners and protesters, the Fayette County Commission last week denied four controversial rezoning requests.
The group also tabled one controversial request and approved two without opposition.
James Randal Holt's request to remove a lot from Lakeview Estates subdivision and rezone the lot for office use. Holt has been trying to sell the home under its current residential zoning category for some time now, said lawyer Carl Westmoreland, representing Holt. He proposed turning the entrance of the house toward Ga. Highway 54 and creating landscape buffers between the property and the rest of the neighborhood, but residents objected.
"The house was constructed as an integral part of a subdivision," said Jerry Walford, representing the Chrystal Lake Homeowners Association. He said Holt's plan would include a curb cut on Hwy. 54, too close to the entrance to Lakeview Estates, creating a safety problem.
Commissioners unanimously denied the request. "I am not ready to start putting O&I [office and institutional zoning] as part of subdivisions in this county," said Commissioner Harold Bost.
Margaret Barnes' plan to put six homes on 12.21 acres on Padgett Town Road and Lone Oak Drive. Saying the property is bordered by similar zoning on one side, she asked for a change from A-R (agricultural-residential) to R-70, a residential category allowing two-acre lots.
But residents said most of the area is zoned A-R, and they complained that recent clear-cutting of Barnes' property has harmed the neighborhood. "If that's what she calls increasing the property value, then I'm a monkey's uncle," said James Anderson of Lone Oak Drive.
Commissioners denied the request unanimously.
Frank Love's request for residential zoning for additional homes at the current end of Jeff Davis Plantation subdivision. The plan would require extending an existing cul-de-sac on Antebellum Way, drawing strenuous neighborhood opposition.
"You'll be setting a dangerous precedent," said Mary Shaver of Winding Way. David Day of Antebellum Way said residents were sold their homes based on an original plat that included only 57 lots. "Now you're talking about running 80 more cars past the front of my house every day," he said.
"I cannot support this petition," said Commissioner Glen Gosa. "I live next to a cul-de-sac." Commissioners' denial was unanimous.
Bobby S. Jackson's request for R-72 zoning, allowing two-acre lots on 135.52 acres on Antioch Road. Approximately 85 acres of the property are currently zoned A-R, the other 50 acres R-60, which allows one-acre lots.
Jackson said he plans 53 homes on the property. As currently zoned, he could put about 35 homes there, he said.
"The north end of Fayette County is quickly becoming another Riverdale," said Rita Prater of Antioch Road, opposing the project. Fayette, she said, "is growing too fast for its own good."
Bonnie Hicks said she moved to the area 17 years ago because of "strong zoning ordinances, quality of life and the schools." Rapid growth is ruining the quality of life and overcrowding the schools, she added.
Other residents said increasing density on the property would bring crime and too much traffic. Jackson said that's not so. "We're talking about quarter-million-dollar houses. If there's going to be crime and violence, I would suggest it's white collar [crime]," he said. He checked traffic personally, he said, and counted 2.89 cars per minute at rush hour on Antioch Road. "I don't think that constitutes a traffic jam," he said.
Gosa voted in favor of the zoning, calling it a "middle of the road type development." Bost made the motion to deny, saying the property is best suited for "exactly what it's zoned for now."
Harry and Vester Davis' request to change the zoning of 173.5 acres from a subdivision category to A-R with plans to use the land for a house and farm.
Resident James Anderson, who opposed other rezoning requests, spoke in favor of this one. "For once in my life I'm saying that this is a joyous moment to have the commissioners take that back to A-R," he said. "You'd do the whole community a great big favor."
Thomas and Elizabeth Romine's request to rezone six acres from A-R to R-72 for two homes. "The children have grown up and we want them to move in next to us," said Thomas Romine. Commissioners said the rezoning is in keeping with the land use plan.
Commissioners tabled Brent Scarbrough's request for limited commercial zoning for a country store at Ga. Highway 85 and the 85 Connector. (See related story)