The Buford Corn Maze in South Hall County draws as many as 10,000 people a day during its busiest three fall weekends, and the county planning board on Tuesday OK’d a proposal to expand operations.
The Board of Commissioners will vote on the proposal March 24.
In addition to a corn maze, the business at 4470 Bennett Road offers hayrides, a children’s play area, farm animals, a “haunted forest” attraction, and food and pumpkin sales on 33 acres.
The business wants to be able to offer other attractions, including a music venue, mountain bike racing and farmers market, and hold corporate events, birthday parties and weddings.
But the music venue and farmers market, for example, are not approved under the agri-entertainment zoning the owners and operators are seeking.
“The Tax Assessor’s Office notified us about a potential breach to the conservation easement, which led us to finding out that some of the activities at the Buford Corn Maze were not previously approved by Hall County,” Planning Director Srikanth Yamala said.
Yamala added that selling produce grown off-site would require a commercial business license.
Planning board members asked whether the owners had considered this alternative, but the cost and regulations associated with it were not ideal, they said.
The maze’s season runs from Labor Day weekend to mid-November. County documents show the business wants to operate one additional weekend per month.
The only proposed new structure on the property is a roof over an expanded corn box.
A permanent restroom would need to be constructed.
Additionally, plans show a 75-car parking lot inside the property, 100-car lot along Bennett Road and 150-car lot along Friendship Road.
Traffic was a major concern of a few residents who opposed any expansion of activities at the corn maze.
No access is planned off Friendship Road, which is under heavy construction as the Georgia Department of Transportation completes widening Ga. 347 from Interstate 985 to Old Winder Highway/Ga. 211. The road project’s completion date is June 30.
Planning officials are prohibiting parking on Bennett Road right-of-ways, and will require that security detail work during busy fall weekends to help control and direct traffic from the site.