11/12/2018 Planning and Zoning Commission Minutes
PLANNING and ZONING COMMISSION
PUBLIC HEARING MINUTES
NOVEMBER 12, 2018
The Gordon County Planning Commission held a Public Hearing on Monday, November 12, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in the Conference Room of the Gordon County Administration Building for the purpose of hearing variance and zoning change requests.
Members present were:
Randy Rule, Eddie Smith, Jerry Lovelace, and Nathan Serritt
Randy Rule called the meeting to order and advised all present of the sign-up sheets available for those who wish to address the Planning Commission on any of the zoning or variance change applications.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
A motion was made by Jerry Lovelace to approve the minutes of the previous meeting of October 8, 2018. Eddie Smith seconded the motion. All voted aye. The minutes were approved as written.
REZONING APPLICATION #Z18-22, JOHN ROSS & BRANDON ROSS (applicant)
Robin S. Biddy, Susan S. Holcomb, & Shelia S. Hailey (owners)
Chairman Rule read rezoning application #Z18-22, John Ross and Brandon Ross, requesting to rezone a 90.34 acre tract located on Blalock Road, Adairsville from A-1 to Conditional-Use. Terry Brumlow, attorney for the applicants, represented the request explaining that the Ross Family wanted to purchase this acreage to build a 6 new poultry houses, 50×600 feet each. Mr. Burmlow went on to explain that John Ross already had poultry houses nearby and that his son, Brandon Ross, now wanted to get into the poultry farming business. By using new techniques, there would be a minimal amount of trees removed, leaving a heavy buffer surrounding the new houses to contain the smell and noise. These will not be the mega houses and now they store the dead chickens in freezers to await pickup instead of burning or burying, and with all the other poultry houses in the area a few more trucks in the area would not be a nuisance. Mr. John Ross explained that the trucks come in from Canton, mainly at night when very little traffic is on the roads, from a route off Highway 140, to Plainview Road to Erwin Hill Road to deliver feed to his existing houses about once a week. They are regulated by the State on how they must store the dead chickens and handle the liter. Mr. Brandon Ross stated he wants to join the business since he had grew up around the farms and feels like most young people these days do not want to get into farming.
Area property owners and other concerned citizens spoke in opposition to this rezoning request, with concerns of increased traffic from the trucks, increased noise, smell, rodents, flies, mosquitoes, decreased property values, water/soil pollution, the toxic ammonia that pollutes the air and being a safety risk to humans, as well as to the honey bees that will leave the area because of the toxic ammonia, and the honey bee farm on the adjoining property is Mr. Marvin Blalock’s livelihood, as well as the honey bees are needed to pollinate gardens in the area.
Those speaking and who stood in opposition were: Marvin Blalock, Tina Collins, Marie Roberts, Larry Roberts, Steve Bradshaw, Linda Dorsey, Charlene Hendrix, Betty Payne, Larry Dempsey, David Evans, Howard Ralston, Marvin Hayes, Jacob Rakestraw, Roger Mathis, Kenny McCoy, Gary Ralston, James Youngblood, and Anthony Dutton. Shelia Hailey spoke in favor of the request, stating that she and her sisters had inherited this property from her grandfather with the hope that it could be used to help with the great grandchildren’s college cost. Chairman Rule thanked all the speakers for being patient and courteous to each another, and told the speakers that now the applicants would have an opportunity to address some of the concerns that had been mentioned.
Mr. Brumlow stated that we are going to continue to have Chick-Fil-A’s, Zaxby’s, and Church’s. It is going to happen and if we were here to talk about a sub-division on this property, the issue would be narrow roads for the buses and overcrowding in the schools. After the moratorium was lifted and these new rules were put in place for chicken houses, the Ross Family has complied with all of them. The poultry business has evolved with new technology to minimize a lot of these issues mentioned tonight and because they want to be good corporate neighbors. Mr. John Ross spoke stating that as a crow flies his current chicken houses are only ¾ mile from where the new houses will be and he still has honey bees around his house and his pond has plenty of fish, so there has not been any airborne toxin that has created any issues. His children have grown up on the chicken farm and have not had any health issues. They use to put 40,000 chickens in a house and now they have cut that to 25,000-26,000 chickens because the federal government has got involved and we have to have more square feet per bird, all this to meet anti-biotic free requirements. They only keep the birds no more than 40 days, because they grow for Chick-fil-a and Zaxby and they want small birds. They only do 5 flocks a year. Chick-Fil-A requires at least a 16 day break in between flocks or Pilgrims could lose their contract with Chick-Fil-A and they do not want to lose that contract, so they are very strict. This operation will cost us $3.5 million to build, not including the land, leaving as many trees as possible for a buffer and hunting. There will be a retention pond, and we have not had any issues with the EPA when it comes to erosion and run-off in 21 years. These new houses will not be visible from the road. Mr. Brandon Ross spoke again stating that he has grown up around this industry and he has a passion and love for the business and it’s not for the money, because if it was everyone would be trying to get in the poultry business. It is about providing food for everyone. The average age of the American farmer in 2017 was 67 years old and people like them are needed to fill their shoes. He added that growing up around this industry has given him a hard work ethic by seeing these baby chicks grow in 40 days and go out and feed our country is very satisfying. All adjoining property owners had been notified.
Ursula Richardson, Zoning Administrator for Gordon County, recommended that the rezoning request identified as Application #Z18-22 for conditional use be approved with the conditions that the driveway be approved by the Public Works Department and the Owner of the Dry Litter Poultry Operation and his successors or assigns must comply with all standards and requirements in the U.L.D.C. 4.03.02 (I), (J), and (K).
Chairman Rule then explained the process of how the Planning Commission comes up with a decision, using the U.L.D.C., future land use map and other checklist.
Eddie Smith abstained from voting. Nathan Serritt made the motion to approve the rezoning application identified as #Z18-22 from A-1 to Conditional use with the conditions that the driveway be approved by the Public Works Department and the Owner of the Dry Litter Poultry Operation and his successors or assigns must comply with all standards and requirements in the U.L.D.C. 4.03.02 (I), (J), and (K). Jerry Lovelace seconded the motion. Randy Rule voted with the motion. The vote was 3-0 for approval. The recommendation for approval was sent to the Board of Commissioners.
The audience was reminded that the Board of Commissioners would make the final decision at the meeting on November 20, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
There being no additional business, Jerry Lovelace made the motion to adjourn. Nathan Serritt seconded the motion. All voted aye. The meeting was adjourned at 7:27 p.m.
Zelda Gregg, Secretary
Randy Rule, Chairman
Butch Layson, Vice-Chairman