In a split vote Tuesday night, the Banks County Board of Commissioners approved a request for a conditional use permit to operate a motorcross training facility at 221 Columbus Drive, Homer.
BOC chairman Charles Turk first made a motion to deny the request from Zach Lurie, owner of Maximum Powersports, with commissioner Sammy Reece seconding the motion. Commissioners Keith Gardiner, Danny Maxwell and Bo Garrision voted against the motion to deny the request.
Turk and Reece had questioned why Lurie had not applied for a business license for the shop he is operating from the site. Lurie said he has a business license from the state, and at first, thought this was all he needed. When Reece pointed out he called him and told him to get a county business license. Lurie said he wanted to find out if the additional businesses uses he is applying for would be approved to see what all he needed to include on the license.
“We have been trying to do everything right,” Lurie said. “I need to know if you are for us or against us.”
Turk replied, “You will find out in a few minutes.”
After his motion to deny the request failed 3-2, commissioner Gardiner made a motion to accept the recommendation of the planning commission and approve the conditional use permit. Maxwell and Garrison voted along with this motion. Turk and Reece voted against it.
Before the vote was taken, Lurie presented the results from a noise study, that was conducted by an independent engineering firm, which he said showed decibel levels of 39 to 57. He pointed out that these levels included noise from other "everyday life" at the time the study was done, including traffic along the road. Lurie also pointed out that the Banks County ordinance allows decibel levels of up to 65 before noise is considered a "nuisance."
The approval for the conditional use permit came with the condition that the hours of operation for the business be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, with Friday being an alternate day if there is a weather cancellation during the week. There is also a condition that. no more than eight bikes will be allowed on the track at one time and no more than 8 RVs be allowed on the property.
Also before the vote was taken, three people spoke against the conditional use permit being approved due to concerns about the noise. Jody Parks stated that she moved to Banks County due to the rural quality of life and said that “motor sports is not conducive to rural life.”
“I hear it in my house,” she said. “That is concerning.”
Cheryl Bradberry said, “Decibels or not, I can hear it a mile away.”
In other business at the Sept. 14 meeting, the BOC:
•agreed to accept a $224,000 FEMA grant to be used to purchase seven cardiac monitors for med units. The county will be required to fund $21,866 toward the project.
•extended the moratorium on multi-family housing until Dec. 14.
•approved the transfer of the alcohol license at Applebees due to a new general manager being named.
•approved the annual indigent defense contract for the Piedmont Judicial System Superior Court.
•amended the GEFA loan project for the Martin Bridge Road to Banks Crossing sewer project to extend the end date to September 2022. The project was delayed due to the pandemic. Related to this, the contract with the grant administrator for the project was also extended.
•approved the low bid of $2.4 million from Caldwell Tank to install an elevated tank, booster pump station and chlorine booster facility at Fort Lamar Road. This project is being funded with revenue from the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST). It will take 16 months to complete the project. Officials report that this will give more volume and pressure to the county water system.
•approved the low bid of $243,907 from North Georgia Concrete Corporation for the culvert project on Yonah-Homer Road.
•approved the annual contract with the Georgia Forestry Commission for the use of a truck.
•agreed to participate in the Recovery Funds Broadband Application/Windstream partnership that would provide broadband to all of Banks County. If approved, this would be in place by December 2023 and would not cost anything to the county. It is a $16 million project.
•heard a request from citizens on Purcell Road that more water pressure is needed on the road. The commissioners agreed to look further into the matter.
•held a closed session to discuss “personnel and land acquisition.” No action was taken.