Following along with the county planning commission’s recommendation from last month, the Barrow County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Sept. 14, approved rezoning 117.5 acres of land on Glenn Jackson Road in Statham for a new subdivision, but at a much lesser density than the prospective developer and property owners were seeking.

The board voted unanimously to deny a request by LGI Homes Georgia and the land owners to change the future land-use map (FLUM) designation for the land near Glenn Jackson Road’s intersection with Luke Circle, which would have allowed the applicants to get an R-2 zoning and build a planned subdivision of 310 single-family homes with a proposed minimum of 2,000 square feet and a density of well over two units per acre. The board then backed up the planning commission by approving a rezoning to R-1, but that zoning requires 1-acre minimum lot sizes and carries further restrictions on the density because the character area for the parcels is under Rural Reserve and Rural Neighborhood.

“I think the planning commission made the right call,” BOC chairman Pat Graham said.

The board’s approval of the R-1 zoning came with four staff-recommended conditions: that the project be developed as an open-space subdivision, that all homes be a minimum of 2,000 heated square feet with no vinyl siding, and that sod and landscaping be installed in front and side yards. But it was unclear Tuesday what the applicants’ next step — litigation, walking away from the project or going forward with it — would be, as their attorney, Joshua Scoggins, has said a less-dense subdivision would not be economically feasible.

Scoggins made an appeal to the board during a public hearing on the case Tuesday, saying it would be appropriate to amend the FLUM and allow for the project as planned.

“This proposal before you satisfies all the legal requirements,” Scoggins said. “Not everybody’s going to like it. But at the end of the day, I think it’s the right thing to do by the property owners and by the applicant.”

A few residents, including ones from neighboring properties spoke against the requests Tuesday, objecting to them over concerns related to traffic and stormwater management. Scoggins stressed that the project was planned to be phased in over four to six years.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business Tuesday, commissioners:

•approved a request by Euphoric Development to rezone just under 96 acres of wooded land near the intersection of State Route 316 and Kilcrease Road in order for an industrial park with 1.1 million square feet of warehouse space to be built. The developer plans to build four warehouse buildings to be marketed to companies looking to expand their space. No suitors for the space have been publicly announced yet. Plans are to build the project in one phase with an estimated completion by the end of 2022. The project has an estimated $70 million value at buildout.

•approved a request by David Dillard and the Jack and Janet Dillard Family Partnership to change the character area for and rezone 5.63 acres on Carl-Bethlehem Road near its intersection with Loganville Highway for commercial and retail uses, with 3-5 outparcels next to the IHOP restaurant.

•approved a request to change the character area of and rezone 0.835 acres at 241 Hwy. 211 NW, Winder, for a new convenience store to take the place of the former “Real Deal,” which closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Though a convenience store has been operating there, the property has been under R-1 zoning, which attorneys said was likely an oversight.

•approved a special-use request for a convenience store in an Agricultural Commercial zoning district at 856 Atlanta Hwy., Auburn.

•approved a special-use request for a wedding venue at 288 He Gardens Dr., Winder.

•approved a developer participation agreement for the Ingles lift-station upgrades in Auburn to accommodate additional planned residential subdivisions in the area. The developers of planned the projects are covering the costs of the upgrade and expansion, which has an estimated $2.2 million price tag.

•approved an agreement with Golden Productions to manage the 45 calendar-year days that the county has rights to the Innovation Amphitheater under an agreement with the Barrow County School System. Golden Productions will lease the facility from the county at a rate of $1,000 per day for a total contract amount of $4,500.

•approved an agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation for the county to provide right of way mowing and maintenance for the future roundabout at State Route 11/Jefferson Highway and State Route 211/Rockwell Church Road once construction is completed.

•approved an agreement with GDOT for the county to provide operation and maintenance of the lighting system West Winder Bypass/SR 316 interchange.

•approved a letter of support from the county for a potential roundabout at SR 211 and Dee Kennedy Road. GDOT is studying the possibility of constructing a roundabout at the location, county public works director Chris Yancey said, adding that if construction were to proceed, the county would be responsible for electrical and maintenance costs.

•approved a replacement of a wing wall in the county’s right of way at 101 Pleasant Hill Church Rd. in the amount of $68,246.

•approved an annual maintenance and support fee for the county’s CAD system in the amount of $27,585.

•accepted a $1,400 grant from the Superior Court Judges Judicial Council. The funds can be used for drug-testing supplies, travel and “program-specific” equipment.

•approved a resolution reducing the size of the Board of Tax Assessors from five to three members. The board was originally three members when it formed and increased to five seats over time, but the county has had difficulty finding people to fill all the seats, county manager Kevin Little said.

•reappointed Beth Buchanan to the Board of Tax Assessors for a six-year term that is set to expire Oct. 1, 2027.

•met in closed session for about 30 minutes at the end of the meeting to discuss pending and potential litigation. No action was taken as a result of the session.

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