Glamping — a style of resort and amenity-included camping — is coming to Hall County, but not as a new zoning classification.
The Hall County Planning Commission unanimously approved March 15 two requests to use Lake Lanier and Winder Highway properties as glamping destinations.
“We’re not adding a new (zoning) category,” said board chairman Chris Braswell. “This will be viewed as permitted uses per the planning commission and the county commissioners.”
If a person wants to operate a glamping site in the county, the site would need to be located within a residential property and an application submitted to the board.
“If anybody wanted to do a glamping-type business using yurts or tents as a short-term, it would have to be within a residential property,” said Sarah McQuade, the county’s director of planning and development. “And then it would have to come before the planning board and board of commissioners before operating as a glamping site.”
The board’s approval on Monday came with a laundry list of 15 conditions that the two applicants must follow.
McQuade said that the conditions to operate a glamping site only apply to the applicants and is not transferable with expansion or change in ownership.
The board had previously postponed action on the matter, requesting three additional conditions, including potential penalties for violations.
Among the recommendationsl is a 30-day limit on rental or occupation of a unit, a three-strike violation policy with a first offense carrying a fine of $250, and distance requirements for the glamping sites regarding neighboring properties and roadways.
Glamping sites need to be at least 100 feet from a property line, include a minimum development lot of three acres, direct access to a county road or federal highway and must be connected to a public water supply and a public sanitary sewer system.
According to the board, their decision is the final action, unless an appeal is filed to the county commissioners within the next five business days.
If the matter is appealed, the commissioners will hold a public hearing during the April 22 Board of Commissioners meeting.
According to documents, county attorney Van Stephens determined that the proposed “glamping” use was similar to a short-term rental but that the proposed style of dwelling “does not meet the definition of a structure.”
Since county zoning laws do not define the proposed dwelling as a structure, it could not be permitted under a short-term rental.
Glamping has no classification under Hall County’s zoning laws and applicants needed a special conditional use permit in districts zoned residential.
The first applicant, Paul Price, proposes eight campsites with “luxurious outhouses,” a common parking area and a playground on a stretch of lakefront property on Lake Lanier.
Seven of the 10 acres owned by Price would be designated as a “glamping resort.”
Price also owns an adjacent parcel, a zoned vacation cottage that is about half the other lot’s size and has a house built in 1945, according to the document.
A second applicant has proposed a similar development off Winder Highway near Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
According to county documents, the applicant has not yet developed a site plan, and was “inquiring as to what the appropriate zoning classification would be.”