County approves Hwy. 34 rezoning

by Sarah Fay Campbell

A rezoning and variance for property on Hwy. 34 East near Ruth Drive was approved Tuesday by the Coweta County Board of Commissioners.

Applicant 75 Jackson LLC/Jim Thomasson is planning a 9,600-square-foot commercial building for the site, which was rezoned from Rural Conservation to C-3, Commercial Retail District. The site is located next to the existing commercial center and will have the same driveway.

A buffer variance is needed because of an oddity with the property — the property line cuts through the edge of an adjoining house, as well as through the center of a storage shed.

The owner of the home submitted a letter saying he agreed with the rezoning, but the commissioners still had some concerns. Commissioner Rodney Brooks was worried Tuesday there could be some problems down the road.

“We found it very strange,” said County Attorney Nathan Lee of the property line issue. “It’s definitely a first for the planning department.”

“Couldn’t there be a buffer reduction and land swap?” asked Brooks.

That’s not something the county could get involved in, according to Lee.

With the strangeness of the property line, “There are several legal concerns, but none are ours,” Lee said.

Things would be different if the homeowner had an issue with the rezoning, said Commissioner Tim Lassetter.

The applicant is unable to have a 50-foot buffer because of the buildings that encroach the property line. The variance allows for an 8-foot fence along that section of the property, with the 50-foot buffer picking back up along the rest of the border. In other meeting business:

• The board approved a variance for a flag pole that was built without a permit. The new flagpole at Newnan Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM is 70 feet tall. Under county ordinances, the limit is 34 feet, 11 inches. The flagpole company didn’t get a permit for the flagpole. The Coweta Planning Department recommended denial of the variance. The Coweta Board of Zoning Appeals recommended approval.

“Haven’t we in the past granted a variance for a flagpole?” asked Commissioner Paul Poole.

A variance was granted for a pole at a church on Gordon Road, but the flagpole was never installed, said Zoning Administrator Angela White.

“Most of the trees are taller than this flagpole,” said Brooks, who made a motion to approve the variance. “I don’t see an issue.”

“I’m OK with this,” said Chairman Bob Blackburn. However, “certainly the owner is quite aware that we have polices and procedures in place. If he would be a little bit more keenly aware of them in the future.”

“It’s a great looking building, too,” said Brooks. “It looks like it is going to be an asset to the county.”

That’s the type of building the county’s “quality development corridor” is designed to encourage, said White.

“It really shows,” said Brooks.

• The board delayed approving a “letter of support” for Newnan Theater Company’s application for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. NTC is seeking the grant for the production of “Flies at the Well,” a play based on the 1948 murder trial of John Wallace. Plans are to premiere the play in the courtroom of the 1904 Courthouse — where the trial took place.

The theater company plans to partner with the Coweta Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “We think it will become a great tourist draw,” said Caroline Abby, project manager with NTC, and hopes are to make the production an annual event. Assistant County Administrator Michael Fouts recommended the county consider the letter of support along with the application for the use of the courthouse at the June 4 meeting.



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