Rome & Floyd County

The Rome-Floyd Planning Commission held firm against so-called spot zonings Thursday, recommending denial of nearly every application reviewed.

The citizen board held hearings on four zoning requests that will go before the Floyd County Commission for action on Sept. 24. Three were unopposed by neighbors.

Plans for a custom shield and coat-of-arms art studio on Fosters Mill Road at Melson Road drew protests from at least a dozen nearby property owners.

“Many families in our valley moved here for a quiet life,” said Susan Harrell, voicing concern about potential contaminants from the production process and traffic from delivery trucks.

The tract, owned by the Garner Construction Co. family, had been used for industrial operations for decades, but it’s zoned for residential use.

Bonnie and Lindsay Mastro closed their 25-year-old Grace Manufacturing Co. in Floyd County Industrial Park.

They want to downsize to a “small cottage industry,” Bonnie Mastro said, and live by their shop on the Fosters Mill land.

“We are now seeking a part-time opportunity for us, as a husband/wife team, to continue working as artistic craftsmen for online retailers — at what we know best and enjoy the most about our former business — with our remaining productive years,” she told the planning commission.

But Terry Wright said it’s been more than a decade since the site has been used for commercial activity and a rezoning would be incompatible with the rural area. A number of speakers said they don’t necessarily mind the Mastros’ operation but did not want a precedent set.

“My only question is, what’s going to happen in the future if this gets changed now,” Dennis Sutton said.

Planning commission members agreed in a 6 to 0 vote. Steven Miller said he doesn’t support “spot zoning,” which introduces a different zoning category into an area. He was seconded by Logan Boss.

“This is one of those where it seems like it could be a good thing at the moment ... but circumstances change. It’s spot zoning and you’re dealing with unintended consequences down the road,” Boss said.

The board essentially gave the same reason for the other three decisions.

Daniel Stephen has been cleaning up a deteriorating building at 4756 Calhoun Road with an eye to opening a car restoration and sales shop. He said he and his partner would be doing their “dream job” of customizing mid-’70s and older vehicles.

The property would have to be rezoned to light industrial from community commercial, but the area is mainly a mix of residential and other less-intensive uses. Planning Commission Chair Anthony McClain voted in favor but the remaining five members were opposed.

The board unanimously tabled a request for duplex zoning in a residential area at 105 Whispering Oaks Lane, to get more information. A request for a special-use permit for a duplex at 302D Pleasant Valley Road in Silver Creek was unanimously rejected.

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