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Board hears numerous zoning requests
County - LOCAL

NEWTON COUNTY – In a meeting filled with division, commissioners were unified on a number of zoning requests that came before the board at the April 2 meeting.

The first rezoning matter was on 90 Almon Road with the request to locate and operate an office with fleet parking. For this, the request was a conditional use permit (CUP) by Owen Middour of MI Sweetwater LLC.

Previously, Middour and representation went before the Planning Commission, where the petition was approved unanimously at 4-0.

Representing MI Sweetwater LLC was attorney Jordon Edwards. Edwards was sure to clarify that the business that would occupy this space would be The Erosion Company (TEC), a multi-state business looking to expand in the Newton County area.

Furthermore, Edwards mentioned that of the 11.45-acre property, TEC would only be leasing one acre from the property to operate a small office area. No rezoning would be needed, as the property has already been properly zoned as Highway Commercial (CH).

With the property being located in District 3, commissioner Alana Sanders led the discussion for voting, with her setting the motion to table this item of discussion until the June 18 meeting, so that more public input could be provided. The vote to table discussion was passed 5-0.

Another group looking to operate an office with fleet parking and truck repair, did not share the same fate.

Applicant Alexander Rusu requested that a parcel of land on Highway 138  in District 3 listed as agricultural-residential (AR) be rezoned to CH. An accompanying CUP was also requested.

The planning commission unanimously denied the petition 4-0, with concerns regarding traffic on Highway 138.

These concerns were shared by a number of citizens, too, as many participated in the public hearing for this item, with several speaking in opposition.

Sanders opted to make a motion to deny the rezoning and CUP, with District 4 commissioner J.C. Henderson seconding. It was unanimously denied at 5-0.

The final zoning case involved a CUP grant for a child daycare center in District 1 with the petitioner listed as Cinnamon Sarten and A&M Partnership LLC.

Located on 2626 Highway 212, this daycare will be in an existing commercial center.

District 1 commissioner Stan Edwards made the motion to approve the CUP, with the board following suit in a 5-0 approval.

Also taking stage at the meeting were the discussion of impact fees within the county.

A first reading and public hearing was conducted with no action taken until it appears before the board again in a future meeting. 

The board did, however, approve the accompanying FY23 Capital Improvement Elements resolution to transmit to the Department of Community Affairs for further review.

Numerous other items of discussion took place in the over four-hour meeting. The board used the time to approve the following items.

An approval of an amendment contract for turf renovations at the City Pond and Turner Lake Softball Complex in the amount of $2,739,249 (5-0).

An amendment on a task order for the Yellow River Trail (5-0).

An approval of a funding source to add a co-responder for mental health related calls for the Newton County Sheriff’s Office (5-0).

An amendment to the 2014 permit administrative procedures control ordinance, providing consideration of text amendments to the administrative procedures for temporary power (5-0).

An authorization of a temporary building permit ordinance to be moved forward (5-0).

Numerous items on the consent agenda (5-0).

The initial motion to approve the agenda was divided in a 3-1 vote, as Henderson had not joined the meeting at that time while Sanders voted in opposition. A motion made by Sanders to add discussion of the 2017 and 2023 SPLOST projects for District 3 failed for a lack of a second.

Discussion to remove the second portion of citizens comments was tabled to update rules of decorum.

No action was taken on two listed items in the agenda.

The first was discussion for SPLOST funds for the Nelson Heights Community Center in the amount of $1 million. The item was moved up from item 10 after county manager Harold Cooper took the time to present comments made from Henderson in his county manager’s report.

Additionally, no action was taken on requested lease agreement updates for community centers, as the county attorney Patrick Jaugstetter will bring it back before the board at a later date.