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The Rome-Floyd Planning Commission recommended approval of a winery permit application at its Thursday meeting.

Applicant Billy Newby owns the property at 602D Billy Pyle Road, which is 58 acres and houses a few vineyards. Newby said he wishes to start a winery on the property because not many other wineries take grapes from other vineyards.

Visitors would be allowed on the property for tastings and tours, but it would mostly be a small production, making about 2,000 cases of wine a year.

If approved, Newby’s property would be rezoned from suburban residential to agricultural residential for the operation.

The recommendation includes building a vegetative buffer along the easement that leads into the property, to create a barrier between the winery and neighbors.

Several neighbors along nearby Quiet Acre Road voiced concerns and opposition to the application.

Jane Fleming lives closest to Newby and said that she feels as if Newby has taken advantage of the area. She said the easement that he uses to access Billy Pyle Road is part of her property.

Newby’s lawyer Louis Johnson said Newby bought the easement in 1996 and has only taken down dying trees and maintained the road.

Neighbor B.J. Gore said the neighborhood is very quiet with minimal traffic and he believes a winery would upset the area and the longtime residents.

The application will go before the Floyd County Commission for a public hearing and final vote on July 28 at 6 p.m. in the County Administration Building, 12 E. Fourth Ave.

Planning commission members recommended denial of another permit application — to allow pet chickens at a Saddle Mountain residence — after hearing objections from neighbors and discussing past cases.

Katherine Sho said she wishes to have four hens at the property on Pheasant Run to keep as pets and harvest eggs for the household. She said she would comply with the Unified Land Development Code regulations, which prohibit roosters and free range chickens.

Many of Sho’s neighbors talked about their fears that chickens in the neighborhood would spread diseases and attract predators, such as coyotes.

Planning commission member Terry Jones echoed their sentiments, saying chickens are an agricultural pet and belong in regulated areas.

The application will go before the Rome City Commission at the July 27 meeting for a public hearing and vote.

For more information regarding the city and county commission meetings’ public hearings, contact senior planner Brice Wood at

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