Rezoning for plant nursery approved

WINDER - A controversial landscape plant nursery will open in a residential neighborhood near Statham. Barrow County Commission Chairman Doug Garrison broke the tied vote while Commissioner Jerry Lampp fought adamantly against the proposed rezoning. Lampp's son, Ken, lives in the affected neighborhood.

"He knows his property values will go down," Lampp said.

Robert and Melissa Williams intend to build a 3,000-square-foot house on a five-acre tract and erect nine greenhouses on about one-third acre in the rear. The property, located in the Sweet Apple Farms subdivision, was zoned residential. Commissioners rezoned it to agricultural, clearing the way for the greenhouses.

The property is located in a rural area near Statham, surrounded by woods, chicken houses, vacant agricultural land and single-family homes. Barrow County's Planning and Zoning Commission had recommended denial of the rezoning.

Neighbor Paul Amason said he did not want his peaceful view obstructed. "I don't want to look out my window and see azalea farms," Amason said.

James Turbeville spoke against the rezoning, citing increased traffic, the property's dangerous location in a bad curve and decreased property values. He also questioned the legality of the rezoning application, pointing out the liberal use of Wite-Out on the application.

Commissioners tied votes to both deny and approve the rezoning, with Garrison breaking both ties.

"I want to remind everyone that this is District 1 and you know how District 1 gets treated," Lampp said. "This has been a buddy-buddy deal from day one. Planning tried to go through the front door, the back door."

When asked to explain how District 1 is treated, Lampp said his district has had an ongoing struggle with the Commission.

"The Commissioners will put restrictions in District 1 that are unfavorable to homeowners," he said. "They say the schools can't support the students."