Zoning Signs

Signs up and down dry Pond and Broach roads in the Gratis area urge neighbors to rally their county commissioners to vote no when they hear the proposed rezoning of land to R1-OSC (Open Space Conservation Overlay District).

MONROE, Ga. — A Gratis woman says 300 of her neighbors are united against a proposed zoning change on the county commission’s agenda.

Psachya Futterman of Scenic Hills Estates Inc. in Atlanta has applied to rezone nearly 88 acres on Dry Pond Road to R1-OSC (Open Space Conservation Overlay District).

Currently it’s zoned R1 (Single-Family Residential District).

Changing the zoning would allow for smaller lots, which means more homes potentially packed onto the property.

“We have neighbors that are farmers with cattle. It’s going to affect our groundwater situation,” Julie Solomon said.

“Basically, he’s asking to put in 65 to 70 homes on 92 acres. There’s no way that’s going to happen, but what we suspect is he’s going to get the rezoning and then sell it to a developer.”

The county approved a change in zoning from agricultural use to residential in 1986 but denied a requested change to A2 (Rural Estate District) in 1988.

At that time, commissioners conducted a three-hour hearing then voted to deny a zoning request that would have led to a community of manufactured housing.

Leonard Habif, the president of Scenic Hills Estates, said that’s not the plan this time. In an interview, he said the OSC district would allow for more open space in a future development and restrict builders to larger homes — 1,800 square feet, compared to 1,600 square feet on a standard R1 zoning.

“We want to put in a good, quality house,” Habif said. “At this point we have not put in any commitments. We’ve reached out to national builders as well as local builders.”

But Solomon and other opponents are upset the owners won’t commit to the types of siding that will be used, or other architectural features such as side-facing garages or a gated entrance.

They said the market doesn’t support the need for a new development, given a subdivision still incomplete less than 11⁄2 miles away.

She’s asking opponents to wear red to show their support when the Board of Commissioners meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Historic Walton County Courthouse, at 111 S. Broad St.

In other business, the board will pick up from last month’s tabled discussion of the proposed rezoning from B1 (Neighborhood Business District) and R1 to B2 (Highway Business District) at Highway 78 and Bradley Gin Road.

Belshe Industries Inc. wants to build mini storage units and get conditional use approval for outside storage and a car lot. Neighbors said they feared long trucks would be stuck hanging out onto Highway 78 if the plans were accepted with the driveway drawn as-is.

Public hearings Tuesday include conditional use for a guest house at 1999 Broadnax Mill Road, conditional use for an event venue at 2511 Shockley Road.

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