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County OKs arena request, zoning changes

Commissioners held eight public hearings and approved each of the requests at their Tuesday, Oct. 27 meeting, including a parcel of land to be zoned commercial for a Dollar General store off Bottoms Road in Concord and a special exception request to allow for public equine events at a covered arena on Concord Road owned by John and Rosalyn Boren. During the nearly four-hour meeting, commissioners first approved a request for rezoning from the Development Authority of Pike to rezone property off Highway 41 as commercial in order for K&K Manufacturing to build a business there and on adjoining land. Planning and development director David Allen said the rezoning issue was brought before the planning commission Oct. 8 and they recommended it for approval with several conditions. ’The Development Authority rezoned some property to industrial last year and are proposing this 6.76 piece be rezoned and combined with a portion of what was rezoned last year,’ said Allen. ‘K&K Manufacturing is a reputable business and the family who owns it lives in Pike County. The building will be mostly masonry with a metal roof and a detailed landscape plan for the parking area. I think the Development Authority has done a nice job picking a suitable, acceptable business for this area.’ The business will manufacture flatbed truck bodies, dump bodies and various types of equipment trailers. According to Allen, the business will have a commercial showroom area which will be open to the public and the employee manufacturing area would be mostly screened from the road. County manager John Hanson commended the Development Authority for putting the project together, the family for investing in Pike and everyone from the county who helped. ’I appreciate all the work all the parties involved to make this a smooth process,’ said Hanson. COVERED ARENA ON CONCORD ROAD Commissioners heard from many in favor of and many opposed to a special exception request to allow for public equine-related events at a covered arena in Concord owned by John Boren. Commissioners approved the request unanimously after spending close to two hours holding a public hearing, questioning those involved and working to determine the criteria as conditions, including opening and closing hours, days of operations, the definitions of large and small events and more. In addition to many conditions recommended by the planning commission, commissioners added a few more. They set the hours for events on Friday or Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. with the lights out and speaker off at 11 a.m. at the latest with no activities on Sundays. Large events involve 50 entrants or more and the arena is allowed to have four large events in a calendar year with eight small events and only one event per month. The registration list for events is required to be submitted to the county no less than seven days prior to the event. No overnight camping is allowed. Other required conditions include concession stand inspection, no vehicles on the side of Concord Road or adjacent properties, no trespassing on adjacent properties, an annual business license, approval is non-transferrable from current property owner, practices may be held Monday through Thursday but must end at 8 p.m. and not include use of the sound system, all signs conform to county sign ordinance, night sky friendly lighting and a privacy fence and 10-foot wide evergreen tree screen must be installed between arena and adjacent property. During the public hearing, 14 spoke in favor of the public arena and four spoke in opposition, including the applicant’s son John Boren Jr. and attorney David Brisendine. Most who spoke in favor of the arena said it is a great place for kids to practice riding, even when the weather is bad. Some mentioned the next closest public arena is about an hour away. ’We have to travel to Heard County or Jackson for a practice night every other week or so,’ said Tracy Birchtram. ‘We have to travel to a different county to practice and they are getting our gas and food money each time. I hope you will have it in your heart to think about local children who ride horses, not just kids who play baseball and football.’ Mark Prior noted that the store in Hollonville sold out of diesel fuel and snacks during the last event at the arena. ’I live across from the property and I think this is going to be a positive thing for the community,’ said Chris McNutt. ‘This will give the residents of Pike something that pretty much everyone in the county likes to do.’ Real estate broker Alana Dickerson said she did not think the arena would cause adjacent properties to decline in value. Chip Whitaker, who moved from metro Altanta to Pike County, said he believes people are free to use their property as they like as long as it doesn’t interfere with the freedom of others. He asked that large events at the arena be scheduled well in advance so neighbors will know not to schedule events on the same day. ’If Mr. Boren wants to have an annual event, I can mark my calendar not to have relatives over,’ said Whitaker. ‘That will make it where everyone can coordinate their calendars. That way, everyone’s happy and it’s organized. Whitaker also asked that Mr. Boren be asked to post a bond to ensure there is no damage done to Concord Road during an event. Nancy Boren spoke in opposition of the special exception and noted that the arena’s owner has already violated Pike County zoning and health codes and said granting the permit will make life unbearable for Concord Road residents. ’I support their right to pursue their sport, but this needs to be done in an area that does not inflict hardship on the neighbors. These events go on all day and half the night,’ she said. ‘There is so much noise – from the huge crowds and the blasting PA system to the trucks rattling in and out. It’s impossible to contain or control the noise because the arena is opened on all four sides.’ DOLLAR GENERAL ON BOTTOMS ROAD Commissioners discussed a .32 acre portion of Bottoms Road that was part of a railroad track and was deeded back to a local family with no zoning. Property owner Marjorie Harrison and applicant Taramore Development requested the property be rezoned to C2. Commissioners held a public hearing and approved the rezoning. Commissioners were informed that a location for the store was not declined by the Concord City Council and added a 10th stipulation to the list recommended by the planning commission, stating a development agreement would have to be approved by the commissioners to discuss landscaping, signage and facade. ’Most of the property is already zoned as commercial, they just need about a third of an acre to be rezoned as commercial,’ said Allen. It was noted that the land is proposed as a future site for a Dollar General store, with an entrance off Bottoms Road. ’We’ve been working to get a project approved here for over a year and a half,’ said Tom Hodges, who spoke in favor of the rezoning. ‘We’ve looked at several different sites and we have heard from several people about concerns with traffic. I have a lot of documentation and examples in terms of the access. This really isn’t a matter of safety of our driveway, it’s more of a question of that intersection in general which was designed and created by the DOT. There are speed limits for a reason.’ Several who spoke in favor of the store, noted that it is at least 20 minutes from Concord to a grocery store. ’It’s a convenience and it will also bring jobs to the area which are much needed,’ said Patricia Beckham. ‘And hopefully, it will help relieve my taxes.’ Several spoke in opposition of the rezoning, noting that the business would be a blight to the beauty of the area and the dangerousness of the Highway 19 and Bottoms Road intersection. ’It’s taking our neighborhood from a residential area and making it a business area,’ said Lynn Cunningham. ‘If other people had it across the street from them, they’d be opposing it too.’ Wayne Procett said Bottoms Road is one of the worst maintained roads in the county and it will not be able to handle the kind of truck traffic that will go in and out of a Dollar General store. Several said the location of the store will lead to bad wrecks. ’I support good quality growth in our county, but I think it needs to be done in an orderly fashion,’ said Kyle Johnson. ‘It needs to be well planned and done in large areas which have been outlined in future land use plans. Do we want to scatter little businesses across our county and ugly up our county or do we want to target businesses like K&K who are doing big things?’ The county also: ’¢ Held a public hearing and approved a preliminary plat approval of a six-lot single family residential subdivision on 25.72 acres off Highway 109 east and also off Walker Road, almost at the Lamar County line. Applicant Steve Godwin said the houses would be from 1,800 to 2,700 square feet and would be a nice addition to the county. Several spoke in favor of allowing the special exception and no one spoke in opposition. ’¢ Held a public hearing and approved a special exception request to allow for applicants Clay and Karen Lewis to host special events such as weddings, receptions, birthdays and family gatherings at a property currently owned by Christ Chapel Community Church on Highway 19 north. The property is 21.31 acres and has a lake. Several spoke in favor of allowing the special exception and no one spoke in opposition. ’¢ Postponed and will re-advertise a public hearing for property owner and applicant Kenneth Rogers who is requesting rezoning a portion of a former railroad right-of-way from no zoning to A-R to match a similarly zoned parcel adjacent to it. The property is off Williams Drive and Highway 18. The applicant was not at the meeting so the issue had to be postponed. ’¢ Appointed Susan Goodwin of Williamson, currently serving as chair of the J. Joel Edwards Library Board, to fill a three-year term set to expire Aug. 31, 2008. ’¢ Approved an alcohol license renewal for retail sales of beer for Mitul Patel, doing business as Caddie’s Corner in Zebulon. ’¢ Approved an alcohol license renewal for retail sales of beer and wine for Dolores Ferguson, doing business as Ferguson’s in Concord. ’¢ Approved a tax refund/relief application from Randy Corbin.

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