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Clermont board votes to keep business in city limits
Matter now goes to Town Council for final say
0323CLERMONT
The Clermont Planning and Zoning Commission voted to not allow Valerie and Mark Kirves to remove their home decor business off Cleveland Highway/U.S. 129 from the North Hall County town’s boundaries and become part of unincorporated Hall.

A couple wanting to de-annex their home decor business from Clermont hit a setback Tuesday night.

The Clermont Planning and Zoning Commission voted to not allow Mark and Valerie Kirves to remove the 4-acre site off Cleveland Highway/U.S. 129 from the North Hall County town’s boundaries and become part of unincorporated Hall.

The issue now is set to go before the Clermont Town Council, which has final say, for a first reading on April 5.

Attendance was light at the planning board meeting, with only the couple, owners of Iron Accents, speaking.

They talked about the business’ plight following the Great Recession of 2007-09 — soon after they had set up shop — and the struggle to keep it afloat.

“We’ve had to lay off people and … it’s not anything we feel like we did or the city of Clermont did,” Mark Kirves said. “It’s just the economy and we’re all victims of it.”

“I haven’t taken a paycheck in three years trying to keep people employed,” Valerie Kirves said.

He said he and his wife expect to take a loss on the building, but they hope they could maybe cut their losses with a Hall County highway business zoning.

Planning commissioners didn’t comment before casting their vote but opened up afterward.

“The only thing that we see is if it’s de-annexed, it will start a trickle effect and we don’t want to lose our town,” Chairwoman Robin Brown said. “But I do understand your point and your views.”

The couple kept up their pleas.

“When we were annexed in, we were told that we could de-annex as long as our building wasn’t an island,” Valerie Kirves said.

The couple said that only the property behind them is in the town.

“Is there any benefit for us to stay in Clermont?” Mark Kirves asked.

“What makes the little cities in our country great is the people who’ve asked to come in and be a part of it,” Commissioner Chris McCall said. “You don’t want to start a trickle-down effect where the city of Clermont goes away.”

The issue isn’t just in Clermont’s hands.

The town is asking for a written response from the Hall County Board of Commissioners, a March 1 letter from Town Clerk Sandra Helton states.

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