Developer must plant tree buffer for altering property lines

WINDER - A developer who requested that the homes he is building not be required to have the same property lines as the development behind it will have to plant trees between the properties to keep a measure of privacy, commissioners said Tuesday.

The new subdivision, at Ga. Highway 81 and Clarence Edwards Road, would be a master-planned development built on sewer. But it backs up to Horizon Pointe, a subdivision whose homes use septic tanks.

As a result, the property lines in Horizon Pointe vary in size. While representatives from Montana Development agreed earlier to align the homes, they said Tuesday that to not have a uniform property size would defeat the purpose of having a master-planned development.

Commissioners voted 5-1 to allow Montana Development to alter its property lines after they agreed to plant cypress trees on the property of Horizon Pointe residents. District 3 Commissioner Roger Wehunt voted against the measure, after a proposal to deny the request failed 2-4, with both Wehunt and District 6 Commissioner Ben Hendrix voting against the change.

Commissioners questioned whether the rezoning should have been allowed in the first place, saying that it had been done in haste, but reasoned that they could not punish the developer for their own mistakes in rushing the request through.

"It's our problem that Montana's having to come back to us, the way I understand it," District 2 Commissioner Bill Brown said. "I feel that we were wrong in allowing that rezoning to go through. In my opinion, we're the ones at fault."

Commissioners also squabbled over a 47-acre rezoning request that would put a sewer subdivision on Tanners Bridge Road. Wehunt made a motion that required the exterior walls be made of masonry, a move that commissioners have said would decrease the fire hazard for neighboring homes if one were to catch fire.

But District 6 Commissioner David Dyer said the requirement was eliminating the options of many builders.

"The market ought to dictate what goes there," he said. "Different strokes for different folks."

The motion passed 4-2, with Dyer and District 1 Commissioner Jerry Lampp opposed.