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Livestock requests bother residents at Hall planning meeting

Some say it will lower property values

POSTED: June 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Chickens and horses were a point of contention for many Hall County residents at Monday’s packed planning commission meeting.

Lora and Paul Cushard drew a crowd of unhappy neighbors when they asked the commission to rezone their property to allow them to operate a commercial equestrian center.

The Cushard’s property is located in a residential area on Ivy Drive in North Hall.

Nearby neighbors brought up pollution, additional traffic and zoning issues in opposition.

"I never thought I’d be talking to a bunch of important people about horse poop," Harry Gamble said as he spoke to the commission about the effects horse manure would have on Lake Lanier.

Johnny B. Smith said residents in the area have fought since the 1980s to keep the area purely residential.

"Don’t change our way of life," he said.

Linda McCaskill said she consulted an attorney about the legality of "spot zoning," or rezoning a small parcel of land.

"(The Cushards) did not think about the people around them," she said.

"They’re blowing the whole commercial thing out of proportion," Lora Cushard said.

Said Paul Cushard: "I’m asking for three people to be able to come by my place on a daily basis. I have poured money into money into money to make sure everybody in my neighborhood is treated correctly."

The commission recommended to deny the motion following the public comment, straying from its original intent to recommend approval with conditions.

"This is probably one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make," commission member Chris Braswell said.

Milton Satterfield requested a variance on his property on Home Place Road in North Hall to build three chicken houses for a poultry operation.

The request, which was delayed at the May 5 meeting, upset nearby residents who were worried the poultry operation would lower their property values. Two attorneys were present at the Monday meeting.

Satterfield said the type of poultry operation he wanted to run, called a pullet operation, was low impact.

"It’s the neatest poultry operation," he said. "I believe this community is better off with this poultry operation."

Other farmers were present to support his endeavors.

Wyc Orr, the lawyer of a nearby property owner, argued that Satterfield’s property did not meet the requirement for a variance because it did not have an unusual size, shape or topography.

A representative from the Department of Natural Resources voiced the organization’s opposition to the houses, siting a proposed park in the vicinity.

"Chicken farms have a devaluing effect on surrounding property," Joey Irvin said. "Half of our net worth is invested in our property."

The commission decided to approve the request with conditions.

Others showed up in opposition to the rezoning of Mincey Marble to expand its facility on Browns Bridge Road.

Frank West said he was nervous that more business would clog the roadways, and Tommie Holland said she was worried children would not be safe around trucks and other traffic.

The commission recommended approval with the condition that Mincey would not be allowed to build an access road at Holland Drive without proper zoning.

All requests from Monday’s meeting will be brought before the Hall County Board of Commissioners at their next meeting, July 10 at 5 p.m. in the Georgia Mountains Center.



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