The proposed change to the county’s future land use map for the 128 tracts totaling 796.45 acres, more or less, to institutional/public, was proposed to accommodate for the plans for the new airport site, explained. Community Development Director Chad Jacobs.
“It is in keeping with the county’s comprehensive transportation plan,” he said.
Jacobs told the more than 40 concerned residents of the area that the proposed change would not change their current zoning or use of their property. He said the future land use map is just a tool the county uses for development and as a guide or road map in rezoning requests.
He told the residents if they have an offer to redevelop their property next month or 10 years from now, “this does nothing to stymie future growth in the area.”
He told the residents they can petition the county to change the map along with the zoning at that time.
“The requests would come before this board as any other rezoning does,” he said at Tuesday’s Spalding County Planning Commission meeting.
Five of the residents in or near the area of the proposed airport site, roughly between Jackson and High Falls roads from Griffin city limits to Musgrove Road, spoke against the change. Most were opposed to the airport and to the changes in the land use map, even if it wouldn’t change the zoning.
Roger Bass, who lives on Musgrove Road, said he was opposed to the airport.
“I don’t want my property degraded for an airport," he said. "The voters voted against the SPLOST, 3 to 1. We didn’t want it then and don’t want it now.”
Jacobs and County Zoning Attorney Newton Galloway told the residents this would not affect their current use and any improvements made to the property would be compensated if or when the land is purchased for the airport. The mention of the words “eminent domain” during that explanation upset some of those in the room, with Arthur Thompson of Musgrove Road telling them, “eminent domain is a dirty word.”
Thompson said, “it kinda worries us, it scares people when you send this out,” referring to the notice of the hearings on the proposed change in the land use map. “We fought this,” he said of the airport relocation.
There was also concern and objections by members of the Planning Commission.
Member Bruce Ballard, who is also the facilities director for the Griffin-Spalding County Schools, questioned the impact of the change in the land use map on the schools and the proximity of two schools, Jackson Road Elementary and Kennedy Road Middle, to the proposed site. “If we go to improve these schools and go to get state funds, they will turn us down because we are too close to the airport.”
Griffin Spalding Airport Executive Director Robert Mohl said after the meeting the those two schools are farther away from the airport than two schools are to the current airport.
Mohl said Crescent Elementary is 3,970 feet, and Anne Street Elementary is 2,515 feet from the current airport. He said Jackson Road Elementary is 2,520 feet from the proposed airport site and Kennedy Road Middle School is 4,150 feet away.
In map presented by Jacobs, the proposed changes in the land use map include the first six tracts north of Jackson Road, up Kennedy Road and go west north of Jackson Road to Griffin city limits and past Dora Street, which appears to include the Jackson Road school site. The school use already is institutional/public.
Planning Commission Chairman Ed Johnson also spoke against the proposed change saying, “in my opinion, 800 acres of commercial industrial is not consistent with what residents have now.”
The request would change the current uses including residential, commercial, industrial, agriculture and industrial to institutional/public on the county's future land use map. Spalding County and the City of Griffin have previously agreed the new airport would be annexed into the city.
Johnson seconded the motion by board member John Youmans to recommend denial of the proposed change in the land use map, which was approved 4-0. Johnson noted this was only a recommendation as the Board of Commissioners will make the final decision.
Jacobs said that hearing would be a called meeting at 5 p.m., on Dec. 3. He said a notice was sent out to all of the properties effected.