13 Stories/Horror Hill OK’d for Halloween
by Sarah Fay Campbell
Horror Hill will be back in the Newnan area this year, but in a different location with a different format.
The Coweta County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to grant a special use permit for 13 Stories/Horror Hill. The haunted house will be located in the former Playtex manufacturing facility at 320 Temple Ave.
The commissioners approved the permit with several conditions, including some aimed at reducing any Horror Hill-related traffic through the residential neighborhood located behind the facility.
Horror Hill was a haunted trail that had operated since 1984 on property on Ware Road in west Coweta. Allyn Glover started the trail when he was 13 years old and it grew into a major, local Halloween attraction. Glover also operated 13 Stories haunted house in Kennesaw. When Coweta County enacted a special events ordinance, Glover was required to obtain a special use permit in order to keep operating Horror Hill.
Ware Road neighbors objected to the permit last year, and the commissioners voted to grant it for one year only and asked Glover to seek a more appropriate location.
"We think we've found it," Glover said at Tuesday's public hearing. "We plan to direct thousands of people down Bullsboro to maybe shop and eat in our restaurants and spend money in the county.” The planning department has recommended approval with conditions. Glover said he has no problem with the conditions.
He said they'll probably try to partner with neighboring businesses and organizations, including One Roof/Coweta Community Food Pantry next door, and will likely offer discounts with canned food donations or donations of clothing.
Glover said he will direct all traffic to the Hwy. 16 West/Temple Avenue entrance, and that the traffic and noise will be less than when the Playtex facility operated there.
"Everything is going to be inside. We're not going to have tractor-trailers coming and going," Glover said. "We're going to be quieter than a lot of the businesses around us."
Everything will take place inside, including attendees waiting in line, Glover said. The facility will be called 13 Stories, and Horror Hill will be one of several attractions inside.
"We're asking you to vote for us because we are a Newnan tradition and we have done everything you have asked us to do," Glover said.
Glover said he sent letters to the residents of the nearby neighborhood and offered to give anyone a tour of the facility.
Some residents of the neighborhood, and one woman who lives nearby on Temple Avenue, spoke against the permit. They are concerned about traffic, noise and trash.
There are currently "no thru traffic" signs, but "it's not even enforced," said Robbie Hayes. Hayes said she had petition signatures from 27 of the 31 homes in the neighborhood opposing the permit.
Many of the residents of the neighborhood are 65 and older and if the facility is open until midnight, "there are going to be complaints," she said.
"It's going to devalue our homes," Hayes said.
Melvin Payne owns a home in the neighborhood. "My concern is not the venue, but the traffic.”
When the subdivision was first built, there weren't connections to both Franklin Highway and Temple Avenue, he said. The residents didn't have any say-so when a new connecting road was paved.
Payne suggested putting up a gate on Mulberry Street near the Living By Faith church to stop any cut-through traffic.
Haley Thompson lives across the street and said she already has to pick up a lot of trash from her yard. "They are going to sell snacks and drinks. I'm going to be picking up more," she said.
The total Playtex facility is 105,000 square feet and the parking lot is 2.6 acres, Glover said. "There is going to be cars there in any business. I am minimal compared [to a new industry that operates year-round].”
"If there is a problem after we open and you vote us in, you can vote us out," Glover said. "You can close us down."
"This is 30 years worth of work with me and my family and friends. Just give me the chance," he said.
Commissioner Al Smith asked if Glover would put up a sign on Loblolly Drive saying it is not an entrance to Horror Hill. Chairman Bob Blackburn added a condition that a deputy be placed on Hwy. 34 West on peak nights directing people away from the subdivision. Peak nights will be Halloween and the weekends before and after.
Commissioner Tim Lassetter asked Glover if he would be willing to meet with the neighbors after the first week, and Glover said he would.
"They are going to be happy with us after the first season. They are not going to be mad at us," Glover said. "If they have some trash in their yards — call me and I will come over and pick it up myself."
If Glover is found not to be in compliance with the conditions, his permit can be revoked, according to Coweta Planning Director Robert Tolleson.