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County puts brakes on proposed zoning change

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

McDONOUGH — County residents helped put a stop to a proposed development they said would have lowered property values.

Commissioners denied a request from Downeast Builders Inc. of Conyers for a zoning modification regarding building materials for property in the Bellah Landing subdivision on the south side of Ga. 138, west of Hemphill Road.

Some residents who live near the subdivision blasted the proposal because it called for homes to be built with materials other than four-sided brick. One of those residents, Charles Lane, said building homes with lower-quality materials would bring property values down in the area.

He challenged commissioners to deny the request.

“I want you all to lead,” said Lane. “I don’t want you to back down to these builders.”

The BOC turned down the request with District IV Commissioner Reid Bowman casting the lone vote in favor of it.

The board tabled votes on requests for zoning modifications on Meadow Brook Drive and the Madison Square subdivision west of Kendra Drive, both in McDonough.

In other action, commissioners approved changes to the application process for zoning appeals. A new ordinance specifies that the BOC will decide on appeals in cases involving possible errors by county officials based on interpretation or enforcement of the Unified Land Development Code. The ordinance also limits those who can file an appeal on such matters to those who have legal standing in the challenged action.

An appellant must file a letter of intent and pay a $300 fee to contest a zoning decision with the following information:

• Written documentation specifying the alleged errors in the approval, denial, interpretation, or decision of the ZAB or administrator;

• Citation of the sections of the ULDC pertaining to action taken;

• A statement of the specific relief requested by the appellant.

Commissioners accepted a $2,010 donation from Grace Bible Sunday school class at Glen Haven Baptist Church to buy a pair of ballistic shields for the Henry County Police Department’s SWAT unit. The check was presented by the church’s Pastor Emeritus, Ralph Easterwood.

Police Maj. Mark Amerman said Easterwood, a chaplain for the police department, has long been a strong supporter of public safety efforts in Henry County.

“He has unique insight regarding the needs of the department,” said Amerman.

The BOC accepted a $20,167 bid from Upstate Curb Inc. in Homer to furnish and install concrete curb, gutter and sidewalks at Sandy Ridge Park in McDonough. The park project is part of SPLOST II, said Capital Projects Director Ron Burckhalter.

“There’s a need to upgrade parking and drainage in the park,” he said.

Burckhalter said Upstate Curb Inc. previously did similar upgrades at J.P. Moseley Park and Fire Station No. 9, both in Stockbridge.

The BOC approved an amendment to the county’s aging subgrant contract with the Atlanta Regional Commission for Henry’s Meals on Wheels program. The amendment increases federal funding for the program from $36,818 to $37,446 and state funding from $13,636 to $13,869.

Commissioners approved a $16,500 bid from Jaco Service Inc. in Jackson to replace a walk-in freezer at the Heritage Senior Center in McDonough. The BOC also reappointed Dr. Orlando Lopez to serve on the Board of Health through 2017.

Commissioners did not meet in executive session as previously scheduled.