Copeland rezoning REZ-2012-09 @ GLPC 2012-05-21

This difficult and complicated rezoning case went to all three of the Planning Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Lowndes County Commission. First, here are videos of REZ-2012-09 Copeland at the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC), 21 May 2012.

Presenting the Rezoning Application

This is case REZ-2012-09 Copeland, 3258 & 3264 Loch Laurel Rd, R-A & R-1 to C-C, well & septic, ~5 acres.

  • County Planner Jason Davenport presented the case.

    The request is to rezone about 5 acres of the subject property to from Residentidal Agriculture (R-A) and R-1 to Crossroads Commercial Zoning (CC). He noted that Mr. Copeland was not proposing a new use of the property, but:

    It’s just he’s had a history of not operating with current zoning.

    Davenport said part of that was the fault of the county for not keeping up with what was going on, and part of it was to the credit of the applicant for operating in such a way he hadn’t disturbed his neighbors. And the case itself was very difficult.

    It was so challenging it split the staff.

    The staff meet as the Technical Review Committee (TRC) about cases before they get to the GLPC. New material before the GLPC, he said, included a new survey.

  • Ted Raker (GLPC for City of Hahira) had a question:
    This survey has changed from what the original packet indicated, and the differences of opinion among the staff was prior to this change?

    Davenport said when staff voted they had no survey, but he didn’t think the survey changed their opinions, since what they thought applicant was proposing was pretty much what the survey indicated.

  • Ryan Warren (GLPC for City of Dasher) wanted to know the entrance road frontage width.

    Jason Davenport’s answer was he believed the survey indicated 60 feet width.

Speaking For

  • Speaking for the rezoning, neighbor Charles Miles said the applicant was a fine neighbor, and suggested limiting the activity on the site to the present activity.

    John Page asked what that activity was. Miles answered it was some type of repair business.

  • Neighbor Alan Davis of 3284 Loch Laurel Road said applicant’s activities were not noisy, especially compared to the jets flying overhead.
  • Neighbor Robert Roffe of 3270 Loch Laurel Road said he’d never had any problems, he or his son, living right out in front of applicant’s property.
  • Neighbor Norman Bush of 3140 Loch Laurel Road said he had bought the south end of applicant’s granddaddy’s place, and
    I hear a man making a living.

Speaking Against

  • Neighbor Patty Haynes of 3243 Loch Laurel Road spoke against the broadness of the crossroads commercial zoning requested. She noted Mr. Copeland has been a wonderful neighbor, and she’s never had any problem with his current activities. But:
    What happens when John is out of the equation and it goes to someone else?

GLPC Discussion

  • Diondra Nichols (GLPC for Lowndes County) wanted to know is this spot zoning?

    County Planner Jason Davenport replied:

    I think it depends on what you mean by spot zoing. but if you define spot zoning as a zoning that is not related to surrounding uses, then yes ma’am, I don’t think this commercial zoning is realated to surrounding uses. The hard about that is the zoning pattern might not be reflective of it, but the land use pattern itself has been used for quite some time.
  • Ryan Warren asked what was the change in the survey?

    County Planner Jason Davenport replied that staff meeting with the applicant talked about various ways to do the rezoning, including rezoning the whole piece, but eventually decided rezoning only a part would be the way to go. They didn’t have the survey in time to give it to GLPC Friday before their Monday meeting, but the survey reflected what staff expected.

    Ryan Warren responded that the neighbors were concerned by the broadness of the Crossroads Commercial zoning, and asked for options in limiting that.

  • GLPC can recommend limits, but all CC uses are still allowed, depending on the County Commission’s actions, said Jason Davenport.
    It’s absolutely within their authority to try to go through that list and limit a number of uses or not allow some specific uses.
    He added that from a staff standpoint he wanted to be sure it was defensible.
    And one of the things that we see that’s problematic, if you limit it to for example just what Mr. Copeland wants, which is the repair, the truck repair, and the trade service repair, is if someone came in for, for example, a personal care home…. I’m just saying if someone came in for something that was retail, agricultural retail. That’s I would think less intense than truck repair, but because of the conditions that you can only do truck repair, then he would have to come back to the County Commission and the Planning Commission to remove that and to allow for agricultural retail.
    So he recommended that instead they limit the uses they don’t want to see. He also provided two other examples: a truck detail shop, and a church, both of which he also thought would be less intensive than the requested use.
  • Bill Slaughter (Chairman and GLPC for Lowndes County) wanted to know:
    Would it not be more in line easier to address a different use at the time that that use arises? And possibly going ahead and limiting it at this time to a vehicle repair shop?
    Jason Davenport responded:
    Sure can. It just sets them up for y’all to see them again. And it sets them up for a public hearing, is what it does.
    Bill Slaughter answered:
    My thinking is, rather than trying to cherry pick what we don’t want to tgo there, it might be easier to limit it to what the current usage is, And then if another usage comes up, address it at that time. It could be whole different set of circumstances on a different day.
    Davenport said that would certainly be within GLPC’s authority to recommend that.
  • John Page (GLPC for Lowndes County) wanted to know if 5 or 10 years down the road, would it be documented that the zoning was restricted to only one use. Davenport answered that the conditions were recorded with the zoning, and would be checked on a business permit application or a building permit application.
  • A GLPC member pointed out that according to the Comprehensive Plan this falls into an urban service area, and CC zoning is approved for an urban service area, although there was a split vote on the TRC as to whether that was the case. And with that flag (presumably the proposed conditions) it would be limited to prohibit retail.

GLPC Motion and Vote

  • Ryan Warren made a motion to recommend CC rezoning conditioned to only the current use of the property. John Page seconded. In discussion on the motion, Chip Wildes wanted to know if “trade repair” included selling vehicles. Davenport said that they looked for categories that matched what applicant wanted to do, and “trade repair” was his shorthand for two longer categories:
    • trades and repair services such as electrical, heating and air, mechanical, painting, glass, or plumbing, or similar
    • automobile, truck, or other motor vehicle repair or similar
    Davenport recommended modifying the motion to include those longer definitions. Mover and seconder agreed. Chair called the vote: it was unanimous.

Here’s a video playlist:

Copeland rezoning REZ-2012-09
Regular Session, Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 21 May 2012.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).