Walker County Board of Commissioners Meeting – December 2023

The process to amend Chapter 4 (Alcoholic Beverages) of Ordinance 0-06-23 in the Code of Walker County began with a public hearing on December 14. Commissioner Chairperson Shannon Whitfield  said the hearing was the first of rwo required before Commissioners vote on the amendment. The amendment would add guidelines specific to licensing of retail package sales in crossroads communities. A link to the proposed amendment can be found at walkercountyga.gov. No one spoke for or against the proposed amendment.
Other public hearings had no opposition as well and included a request by Ferral and Shebbie Cannon for a variance of less than five acres in an A-1 (agriculture) zone. The request made was a hardship request and was approved by the planning board and the commission on the condition that a separate plot of just over 3 acres be sectioned out for the mobile home in accordance with guidelines. The request was also granted based on the fact that there were several other small sections in the area, three with mobile homes. The Cannon’s asked for the variance due to ongoing health issues and the need to move their son to the property to provide them assistance.
A re-zone request from R-2 (residential) to C-1 (commercial) by David Pace for property at 71 Center Grove Road in Lafayette, GA received no opposition and was approved by commissioners. The building on the property was built in 1972 for commercial use and is a three to four bay shop. It currently has C-1 properties around it, but a condition of the approval of the zoning change is that a fence be constructed to hide the vehicles from sight on the side of the property which abuts a residential property. Commissioners approved the zoning change with the condition.
The final public hearing was a zoning change request by Yogesh Patel for property located at 807 Mission Road, Rossville, GA. The request was made for zoning to be changed from R-2 to C-1. The property has housed a business for 30 plus years and is surrounded by commercial property. Patel had submitted a rendering to the planning board of the new construction and parking situation as well as traffic flow through the property which would make it safer. Commissioners approved the zoning change request.
A zoning change and variance request which had been tabled by Commissioners in March of 2023 was brought forward as the property owner came to commissioners to request a zoning change from R-1 to R-2 in order to have some farm animals, bee keeping and in order to be able to add a few homes later for family members. The property size is almost 40 acres and the planning commission had discussed the issue and determined that a change to R-2 was not needed and a variance allowing a use for light agriculture would work better for the property and proposed use. Mr. Stanley, the property owner of 0 Pine Valley Drive in Rossville, GA, said applying for the variance sounded better than changing the zoning to R-2 as they had promised their neighbors that the property would not be sold to be used for multifamily dwellings or a large subdivision. Stanley felt he would have had to come back in and get the zoning changed back to R-1 if he ever decided to sell the property in order to keep that promise to his neighbors. With the variance, Stanley and his wife would not have to worry about that and neither would the neighbors. The Stanleys were advised to work with the planning commission so they could walk them through getting the variance for their property. The zoning change request was withdrawn by Stanley.
A zoning change request for 9180 W Hwy 136 E in Chickamauga, GA was tabled by Commissioners as well.
Commissioners approved a Proclamation declaring December 18 as Heritage Day in Walker County to mark 190 years since the county first began. Commissioners additionally approved an added holiday of December 26 to the Walker County calendar to recognize Heritage Day. Commissioners additionally approved the receiving and managing of grant funds for the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit for mental health court and a purchase order to Prater Ford for two 2023 all wheel drive Ford Explorers to replace two of three remaining vehicles to be replaced in the Assessor’s Office fleet for a total cost of $58,034.76 to be paid from SPLOST.