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Hall County officials propose 'agri-entertainment' law

POSTED: June 17, 2013 8:37 p.m.

Hall County commissioners are scheduled to decide the fate of LL Farms, but county officials are already proposing new ordinances to deal with agricultural sites used to hold various events.

Planning Director Srikanth Yamala introduced the proposed ordinance at the Planning Commission meeting Monday evening. It creates a new category called agri-entertainment events within agricultural residential zoning districts.

The ordinance was prompted in part by David and Michelle Gibbs of Clermont, who were using their residential barn on Ransom Freedom Road as a site for their business, including weddings, proms and fundraisers, without a business license.

Company operations drew the attention of the county after about six months in operation.

When the Gibbses came before the planning commission in May for a rezoning request, some neighbors said the events created excessive noise, trash and traffic. They also alleged the Gibbses were having concerts there.

The commission recommended denying the request, but it’s still expected to come before the Hall County Board of Commissioners later this month for a final decision.

The draft ordinance was approved by the planning board members.

The county has received other calls asking to do a similar business, Yamala said. It didn’t make sense to have a commercially zoned area surrounded by rural land, he said.

“So this is one aspect of addressing all those issues,” Yamala said, “but still having certain guidelines to make sure we are safeguarding public safety, welfare and also preserving the agricultural nature.”

To hold events in those districts, such as corn mazes, pumpkin patches, wine tastings and fundraisers, hosts must have a county business license even if zoning is approved.

The building for the events must be at least 200 feet from any property lines, and parking must be 30 feet from property lines. The draft ordinance also includes the Fire Marshal’s Office regulating the number of attendees and limiting amplifying of noise during outdoor parties.

Planning commissioners were concerned with the part of the ordinance that set the minimum lot size for agri-entertainment events at 25 acres.

“I’m sure some thought was given to the 25 acres, but personally, I think it’s a little high,” said planning Commissioner Chris Braswell.

The planning commission approved lowering the minimum amount of acres to 15.

This ordinance is expected to be on the agenda at the board of commissioners’ June 27 meeting.


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