Floyd County commissioners are moving to change the zoning law in the unincorporated area to let homeowners with large lots keep a few farm animals for personal use.
They’ve asked the Rome-Floyd Planning Department to see how other nearby counties handle the issue without opening up rural neighborhoods to commercial operations.
The planned revision to the Unified Land Development Code stems from a recent rezoning request the board voted unanimously to deny.
Thomas and Holly Smith had sought agricultural residential zoning for their six acres on Radio Springs Road to allow some pet goats and chickens. Their land and the surrounding properties are zoned for suburban residential development.
“That would be spot-zoning and we don’t like to do that in residential areas,” Commission Chair Scotty Hancock said.
But he told the Smiths the denial is “without prejudice,” which means they could ask about it again in six months. Meanwhile, the board is starting the ULDC amendment process.
“We all support what you want to do. This will fix it on a bigger scale,” Commissioner Wright Bagby told the couple.
Associate Planner Brice Wood said the proposed changes would address a situation that is occurring in
areas around the county where there are homes on several acres or more. Many of the residents have horses, ducks and other non-traditional animals despite the prohibition.
“These people wanted to do it right,” he told the board during the pre-meeting caucus.
The planning commission doesn’t meet in July but Wood said a draft ordinance amendment could be presented to the citizen board as early as its Aug. 1 meeting. If there are no hitches, county commissioners could hold a first reading at their Aug. 13 session and adopt it Aug. 27.
The board also approved a special-use permit to allow a wedding venue on a 40-acre tract at 96 Hiram Road. Commissioners had tabled action since March to gather more information after the permit was challenged by neighbors.
In other actions this week, the commission:
♦ Approved participation in tax allocation district financing that clears the way for Ledbetter Properties to redevelop the former Kmart property on Hicks Drive as a new retail and restaurant center. The Rome City Commission is taking the lead on the TAD.
♦ Approved a salary hike for a facilities management position to $45,851 from $41,288 a year. County Manager Jamie McCord said the raise of nearly $3 an hour reflects the shortage of qualified workers to maintain county buildings.
“These positions are increasingly difficult to fill,” McCord told the board.
As a recent example, he said, an air
conditioning system for the Shannon Scout Hut “took longer to install than it should have” because there was no one available for the assignment.