Jackson County leaders rejected a request this week that would have allowed a new subdivision near the new county high school.

In a split vote, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners nixed a rezoning request from Meritage Homes for 64 acres at the corner of Hwy. 332 and Skelton Rd. Meritage had requested a change from R-1 to R-3 with plans to construct a subdivision.

Commissioner Ralph Richardson Jr. and board chairman Tom Crow voted to approve the rezoning with a slew of conditions. But commissioners Jim Hix, Chas Hardy and Marty Seagraves voted against the motion, effectively denying the project.

Meritage had initially planned to construct a larger subdivision, but proposed a maximum of 128 homes on the property at the May 17 meeting.

One county resident, Richard Crosby, voiced opposition to the project, citing concerns with increased traffic in that area.

“There is so much traffic out there now, and with the school coming about, I say use your common sense and turn this down and deny it tonight and maybe look at it in a year after you know what the real world is going to look like out there with that new school and all the traffic,” he said.

Those concerns were shared by another resident, Donald Childers, who spoke earlier in the meeting during citizens’ input. Childers questioned why Skelton Rd. had not been improved prior to the construction of the new high school, which is set to open this year.

WINDER HWY. PROJECT NIXED

Another residential project — this one in Jefferson — was also rejected at the board’s May 17 meeting.

Ken Byce requested a map amendment for 12.3 acres at 2877 Winder Hwy., Jefferson, to change the character area map from suburban to urban.

What started out as a larger townhouse project was ultimately whittled down to a proposal to build 30 single-family homes on the property.

Several residents from the nearby Briarcrest community voiced their opposition, specifically with the requested change to urban, and noted concerns with traffic in the area.

Commissioners Hix and Hardy voted to approve the request, but Crow, Richardson and Seagraves voted against the motion, effectively denying the project.

RETAIL REQUEST APPROVED ON RIDGEWAY CHURCH ROAD

Also at its May 17 meeting, the BOC approved a rezoning request to allow a “retail center” on Ridgeway Church Rd.

Barry Lord requested the zoning change on 1.47 acres at 1596 Ridgeway Church Rd., Commerce (at the intersection with Haggard Rd.). The board approved changing the property from A-2 to CRC.

Developers plan a convenience store on the land with additional retail on either side of it.

OTHER ZONING ITEMS

Zoning matters approved by the BOC included:

•a map amendment request from Sandra Eliasson for 9.18 acres at 1044 Raford Wilson Rd., Commerce. Eliasson requested a future land use map change from commercial to residential and plans to sell the property for residential use.

•a map amendment request from Chad Thomason for 6.27 acres at 2435 Hwy. 124 West, Jefferson. Thomason requested a change in the future land use from agricultural/forestry and public institutional to commercial. He plans a self-storage mini-warehouse on a portion the property.

•a map amendment request from Moore’s Farm Walton, LLC, for 13.5 acres at 5259 Brockton Loop Rd., Jefferson. Michael Nanni requested a change in the character area from agricultural to rural and a change in the future land use from intensive agriculture to agricultural/forestry. Nanni plans to divide the property into five tracts for residential use.

•a map amendment from Genuine Mapping and Design, LLC, for 113.61 acres on County Farm Rd. Developers requested a character area change from agricultural to rural and a future land use change from agricultural/forestry to residential. A 63-lot single-family subdivision is planned on the property. Area residents previously voiced concerns with a landfill/dumping site that was reported on the property. Developers had the material removed and soil tests were completed.

•a rezoning request from Tawana Wood for 2.75 acres at 338 B. Wilson Rd., Commerce. Wood requested a change from A-2 to R-1 and plans to subdivide the property into two lots to bring it into compliance since it has two existing homes on the property.

•a rezoning request from Barry Lord for 5.38 acres on Ila Rd. at D. Williams Rd., Commerce. Lord requested a zoning change from A-2 to CRC to allow a 5,000 square foot office building with parking.

•a rezoning request from EarthPro Land Surveying, Inc., for 8.46 acres at Hwy. 124 West, Jefferson. Joseph Wells requested a change from A-2 to A-R and plans to subdivide the property into four lots for residential use.

CITIZENS INPUT

Also at its May 17 meeting, the BOC heard from:

•Gretchen Gibson, of Maysville, asked the county to consider repairing or replacing the closed bridge on Chandler Cemetery Rd. Gibson said the extended closure has become a nuisance to area residents and cited safety concerns with emergency vehicles not being able to access some locations as quickly due to the bridge closure. Another area resident, Connie Bowman, said the bridge is unfixable and would need to be widened to allow two lanes of traffic for safety reasons if it’s reopened.

•Richard Crosby voiced concerns with property value assessments, which were recently mailed out across the county. Crosby’s and others’ assessments spiked this year, along with the estimated tax value listed on the statement. The commissioners later heard from another county resident who asked if school taxes could be reduced for older citizens.

OTHER APPROVED ITEMS

In other business, the BOC approved:

•a bid to Batchelor and Kimball totaling $51,200, to furnish and install a boiler at the Jackson County Correctional Institute.

•a bid to Stanley Security Solutions totaling $357,600 to furnish and install CCTV's at the county jail.

•a revision to the economic development bonds project list to include the Dry Pond Rd./Jett Roberts Rd. roundabout.

•creating a special tax district for street lights at Enclave at Morris Creek.

•a bid to Pittman Construction Company totaling $1.48 million for previously-approved road paving projects in 2021-22.

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