Neighbors oppose Horror Hill operationBy SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Some neighbors of Horror Hill, a Halloween-themed haunted trail located at 181 Ware Road, spoke in opposition to a special use permit request for the attraction during a public hearing Tuesday before the Coweta County Board of Commissioners.
Horror Hill owner Allyn Glover was the only person to speak in favor of the trail during the hearing.
“The noise is excessive,” Lane said. “We’ve got a crowd there all night long. We’ve got traffic coming up and down the road up until 3, 4, 5, 6 in the morning,” Lane said. He’s called the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office on several occasions and gotten no cooperation.
He said he called Coweta Code Enforcement about a loud booming noise. Lane said his son was at Horror Hill the next night and “they had a big laugh about” his calling and complaining “so they played that thing until 6 the next morning.”
Lane presented the commissioners with a VHS tape, “to give you a little sample of what Horror Hill is about.”
Wayne Kelley spoke on behalf of his daughter and son-in-law, who purchased the adjacent property and plan to build a home there when they retire from the military. Kelley said his daughter is concerned about noise, property value, and possible injuries.
“After 20 years in the military, they don’t want any more noise,” Kelley said.
Cynthia Pyron lives two lots away from Horror Hill, and recently bought the property in between her home and Horror Hill, which was formerly owned by Glover’s sister. Pyron said the first year she lived on the road there were parking and trash issues. She talked to Glover and “he took care of it.”
She said she thought the noise was worse last year, after hours, than it had been in previous years.
“It seemed that it either ran later or after the last customer left the employees turned up the music,” she said.
Pyron said the music played in the parking lot is what she hears more than what is going on on the actual haunted trail.
Pyron said she hasn’t really complained to the authorities because “I bought my house knowing that it was there.”
However, “that doesn’t change the fact that at 11, 12, 1 in the morning on a work night and a school night, I’d like to be able to sleep.”
“Mr. Glover is saying ‘give me one more chance,’” Pyron said. “He’s had 28 years. I’m not the first and only neighbor to complain.”
Commission Chairman Rodney Brooks read a letter from Stephen Stewart, who lives next to Kelley’s daughter’s property, two lots away.
“He would like to voice his opposition,” Brooks said. “The noise, the people racing up and down the road is too much. Also, the trash left on the road is a problem,” Stewart wrote. Additionally, he is concerned that “the rezoning change will open the door for expansion and create more problems such as increased crime and lowering of property values.”
Sandra Lane Herndon is Lane’s daughter. Herndon asked why there was never a business license issued for Horror Hill. “I don’t understand why now is the first year there has been even any motion to make a business out of this,” she said.
Glover said that, for the last 10 or 15 years, he’s emailed Business License Director Eva Wagner every year trying to get a business license. “We have been waiting for this point for years,” he said. “We have tried for many years.”
Glover said after the meeting that he was always told the county had no category for Horror Hill and, therefore, no business license could be issued.
Glover said the videotape Lane gave the commissioners is seven years old. “We have fixed all those problems since then,” he said. As for the music from the parking lot, “we are glad to turn the music off in front. We don’t have to have any music up there,” he said.
As for overnight guests, sometimes he has people over to spend the night at the house. “It is my house — we have people over,” Glover said. They also have three “haunted campouts” a year.
The event has been opened on weeknights in the past, but Glover is only asking to be allowed to open on Fridays and Saturdays until midnight, Sundays until 10 p.m. and on Halloween until 10 p.m.
“The year before last we were open for an entire week,” Glover said.
Glover said that, over the past several years, he has sent letters to his neighbors, giving contact information to them in case of any problems. “And I’ve never received any complaints personally,” Glover said, with the exception of Pyron.
Glover said employees are told not to stay late, but “what I can do a better job of is making sure they are not there late — being on the property more and basically babysitting better,” he said.
For most of his 28 years in operation, “I’ve been open about ‘hey, let me know if there is a problem,’” Glover said. “We want to be good neighbors.”
He’s always known “that, at some point, we are going to have to get a business license, they’re going to come up with a permit.”
Glover is a homicide detective in East Point. He was previously a narcotics officer, and alcohol and drugs are never allowed at the haunted trail, he said. Sometimes there are “kids driving crazy,” he said. “You have to teach them, you have to counsel them. I’ve done a lot of counseling.”
“We’re not a hub for craziness,” Glover said. “We’re not a hub for people to act bad. The biggest problem we’re having is some music issues and sometimes a kid will speed out a bit faster than they should.”
Glover asked the commissioners to “give me a chance to show you, and to show these neighbors, that we can be good neighbors.”
“I want to conform to these rules, I want to make these neighbors happy,” Glover said.