The request for a 2-acre rezoning on the 30 acres occupied by Lawson Foods on Mt. Zion Road in Waco came from the business owner, Harry Lawson, who said the addition would not bring up any "health, environmental or safety issues."
Lawson said the extra acreage would be used to construct a dry storage space not more than 1,000 square feet in area and a parking lot.
Several residents on Mt. Zion Road, which travels through Carroll and Haralson counties, appeared before the commissioners, with some expressing their approval and some their dissent.
Chalmas Benefield, who said he lives near Lawson Foods, opposed the zoning amendment from agricultural to commercial, primarily because the change would cause more semi-trucks to pass through the area, he said.
"You are taking agricultural land — which has already been decimated — and taking even more away," Benefield said. "There are already semi-trucks on that road all the time, and it's just too much of a hazard for that business to expand."
Lawson, who was joined by his wife Robin at the meeting, said "no noticeable change" should come to the community.
"He wouldn't do anything to hurt anyone's community," Robin Lawson said. "He will only make it better. Asking to do our business well in a bigger space is OK, I think."
Diane Reeves, a neighbor who opposed the request, apologized to the Lawsons, saying it was not a personal attack on them.
"If you think we are mad at you, you are incorrect," Reeves said. "We are scared. Today, they're asking for two acres. Who's to say, in these economic times, that they're not going to lose it? It's agricultural land — that's what it's supposed to be."
District 4 Commissioner John Wilson motioned to approve the amendment to the property at 6505 Mt. Zion Road, with District 5 Commissioner Kevin Jackson seconding.
The motion was approved with a 6-1 vote, with District 6 Commissioner George Chambers voting against.
District 1 Commissioner Trent North said he'd like for the meeting minutes to reflect that it was the intent of the board to accommodate Lawson for this, but that the board was not accommodating for what may come in the future.
"I have no problem with this, but we shouldn't impede on these neighbors' opportunity to give their children their property either," North said.
In other business Tuesday night, the commissioners approved the Carroll County Water Authority to apply for a Community Development Block Grant of $500,000 to provide water service and road improvements to a subdivision off Highway 113.
The improvements would benefit the Timber Lake subdivision, just east of Lake Buckhorn.
Water authority Director Matt Windom said the improvements are "needed desperately."
“The subdivision has about 32 residents, and they’re served with a private water system now,” Windom said during Thursday's work session. “Some of the residents have called, asking for help. I realized the county could apply for a block grant.”
Windom said the county applied for a similar block grant in 2005 and 2006 to help the residents but the application wasn’t successful.
He said the total cost of the project would be in the $600,000 to $700,000 range, but the county could contribute the difference with in-kind labor and tap fees provided by the authority.
Also in the zoning session, the board voted to table a decision on a zoning ordinance amendment that, if approved, would potentially allow the applicants to open what was described as a "high-end thrift store" in Whitesburg.
Cynthia Brown, a Newnan resident, and her mother, Joyce Lawson, of Hoover, Ala., appeared as applicants for the zoning change, the decision for which was put off for a month. Brown and Lawson told the board that they planned to open a "mom and pop type" retail business in the 1.4-acre space on Little New York Road in Whitesburg, in a former daycare facility.
Brown said the business "shouldn't disturb any of the neighbors," to which two men who spoke in opposition to the change disagreed.
John Holt, who said he lives next door, said that zoning the area as commercial is his biggest concern.
"Little New York Road is a rural, residential area; it's not on a highway," Holt said. "My fear is that once you go commercial, there's no turning back."
The Whitesburg resident said that he is sure the applicants' "intentions are in the right place," but that he would appreciate the denial of the board.
Commissioner Jackson made a motion to deny the applicants' request, which Chambers seconded.
During discussion, Wilson suggested tabling the issue for another month to see if the two parties could work out the issue and come to an agreement on some conditions for a conditional use permit instead of a zoning ordinance. But before Wilson could make that motion to table, Jackson's motion to deny had to be voted on.
Jackson's motion was struck down in a 4-3 vote. Then Wilson motioned for the tabling of the decision, which was seconded. The tabling was approved in a 6-1 vote, with Jackson opposing.
The issue will be picked up in the board's April meeting.
Also during Tuesday's meeting:
• Carroll County Courthouse Administrator Gerald Pilgrim requested the approval to a change order to delete the remaining inspection and testing allowance, as well as the contingency allowance, for the new courthouse.
Pilgrim said Carrollton-based J&R Construction and Development, the contractors, have "rolled off" the courthouse site, completing the project.
The $16.9 million contract included a $230,000 construction contingency allowance, as well as a $2,000 inspection and testing allowance.
The board voted unanimously voted to approve that change order, which deleted those values from the contract.
• The board recognized the members of the local Master Gardener program, proclaiming March 16 "Carroll County Master Gardener Volunteer Extension Day."
In 2012, local Master Gardeners volunteered more than 12,000 hours of their time, providing technical information and service to almost 30,000 citizens.
On March 16, the group will celebrate the day by providing horticultural education, plant and soil testing clinics and lectures.
• Peek Hill, a dirt road located off Shady Grove Road, was accepted as a public road and placed on the County's Road Register, as brought to the board by Charles Pope, superintendent of roads and solid waste.
When asked by Anderson, Pope said the one-mile road would remain unpaved as a Class 5 County Road.
• The board approved a resolution put forth by county attorney Cynthia Daley, resolving that the official record of the BOC meetings shall consist of the written meeting minutes as voted on by the board. After official acceptance of those minutes, all other written minute material shall be destroyed.
Official video and audio recordings will be archived on the county's website for five years.
Daley said the resolution was basically "putting into police what we've been doing in practice."