The Oconee County planning staff is not recommending approval of a special use request that would allow for a horse farm with a recreational day camp on Colham Ferry Road south of Watkinsville.
The request is before the Oconee County Planning Commission and calls for construction of a multi-use pavilion, to be partially used as a farm management residence, eight cabins, a bath house, and an announcer booth and tack house.
The property and those surrounding it are zoned agricultural, and the staff report states that the development of a recreational day camp is not consistent with the agricultural activity in the area.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Monday) at the Courthouse in Watkinsville.
High Point Farm
According to the rezone narrative, High Point Farm is operating as a horse farm on 35 acres with the physical address of 3551 Colham Ferry Road.
|High Point Farm In Blue|
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The farm is tucked behind other properties and accesses Colham Ferry Road only via a gravel drive.
High Point Farm currently provides horse boarding and training, selling and leasing of horses, and summer school sessions, according to the narrative.
The proposal is for “a day camp where children can come and enjoy nature in a structured environment,” the document states.
The camp will be limited to 40 campers at a time "in order to preserve the integrity and aesthetics of the area,” according to the narrative.
Construction will begin immediately, the document states. Site improvements are estimated to cost $100,000, and buildings are estimated to cost $500,000.
County property tax records show that the property is owned by High Point Land Holdings LLC.
According to state corporate tax records, that entity was registered first in 2009.
Greg Thaxton is listed as the registered agent, and, according to the narrative, he is president of the corporation.
The address of High Point Land Holdings is 1371 Pete Dickens Road in Bogart, which, according to tax records, is a residence owned by Gregory and Cynthia Thaxton.
The Colham Ferry Road property was transferred to High Point Land Holdings on Feb. 29 of this year from Cindy Thaxton and Stephanie Parker-Cummin.
B.R. White, director of the Oconee County Planning Department, said in the staff report that the existing driveway is inadequate to handle two-way vehicle traffic and that the exit on Colham Ferry Road is restricted by a “limited field of sight to the left.”
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White also said that “recreational day camps would create a more intense pattern of development not normally associated with agricultural activity in the area.”
The property itself and surrounding properties are zoned agricultural, and the county’s future development map shows the area as Agricultural Preservation.
It is not unprecedented for the staff report to withhold a recommendation for a rezone, but it is infrequent.
The Planning Commission makes recommendations to the Board of Commissioners, which is scheduled to make a final decision on Aug. 2
The Planning Commission tomorrow (Monday) also will hear a request from David Ivey to downzone 2.1 acres in Bishop from business use to residential use.
According to the rezone narrative, the property, at 5040 Macon Highway, has been an Event Facility since 2001 with a 2,640 square-foot-house being used as the main structure.
Several out buildings are on the property, the narrative states, and the character of the original home, garage and small barn have been maintained since 2001.
The staff report, which recommends approval, states that the two-story house was built in 1900 and the character of an old style farm home with accessory buildings has been maintained since the 2001 rezoning for business use.
The Planning Commission recommendation goes to the Bishop City Council.
A letter dated June 16, 2016, in the rezone file states that the City Council discussed the rezone request in a meeting on June 13 and agreed to approve the rezone once the Planning Commission gives its recommendation.