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Long County Commissioners table RV park rezoning decision

At the Long County Commissioners' meeting of Tuesday, April 2, 2024, a public hearing was held for several rezoning requests, but one of those was the most controversial.

Jessica Smith, Long County Planning and Zoning Administrator, presented the application to the commissioners for a request by Maybank Partners, LLC, for the rezoning of 11.85 acres from AF-Agricultural Forestry to RVPRecreational Vehicle Park District. The proposed use of this property is to construct and operate a Recreational Vehicle Park 
After opposition voiced by nearby homeowners Krystal and Kenneth Beere, Cindy and Everett Barnes, and Tyrel and Shane Fredrickson, the commissioners agreed to table a vote on the rezoning
request, stating that the proposed well and septic tank had not yet been approved by the Department of Public Health and the wetlands study by the Army Corps of Engineers had also not been
received, the latter that could take up to 120 days.
Commissioner James Craft voted against the tabling, stating that the parties involved had come to the meeting for a decision that day. This 11.85 acres off George Swindell Road, according to Elliott Wilson, engineer on the project, met the county ordinance requirements as far as the 20-foot buffer, with an actual 30-foot buffer from other property owners to be provided from other property owners. He also commented that the trash was to be placed in a dumpster and screened from view. He acknowledged that 1.7 acres of wetland was in the rear of the property and that the 30 ft. x 60 ft. concrete pads with graveled drives would only occupy approximately six acres of the property, with a limit of 24 pads planned. He added that these are not extended-stay units but will probably be at the RV park up to a few weeks at the most. A playground/commons area is proposed be placed in the center of the RV park.

However, nearby property owners—the Beeres, the Barnes couple, and the Fredricksons, appealed to the commissioners that this proposed park will devalue their own homes and property and will affect the ecosystem of the land . They also cited safety issues with the number of vehicles on the sites and probably four-wheelers as well. Also, with the planned commons areas, they feared that noise from parties would be detrimental, too. With much of the land in this area already in wetlands, nearby property owners are already affected by four homes that have been built in recent years. This has caused flooding of their own property, and the placement of the RV park will only increase the problem. Another issue raised was possible improper waste disposal. Water and land pollution were cited as most certain occurrences, especially over time, and many other negatives on this RV park were aired. The driveway to the proposed park will be parallel to the driveway of one property owner, a veteran, who suffers from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and he feared the error of RV owners turning into his driveway in confusion about the entrance.

A Conditional Use application filed by CROS bn, LLC, to construct and operate a Solar Farm was approved. Francesca Metcalf, a representative of CROS, stated the solar farm would have a 30 to 40-year life, and would be a 150-megawatt solar farm located four miles from Ludowici between Tibet Road and Dairy Stafford Road, near the site of a large transmission line. She said the panels will move with the sun and the present timber on the land will be cleared for the solar farm. The lease is for 2500 acres with acknowledgement that 1200 to 1500 acres is in wetland. After the 30 to 40-year life of the project, the site would be decommissioned and restored to its current use. She added that the construction process, which will begin in 2026, will provide up to 180 jobs, with three to five operator jobs during the life of the project. She added that this project will increase the county tax base and provide economic input. No one at the meeting commented in opposition to the solar farm project, and it was approved.

John Kuhaneck, a local developer, commented on the application for rezoning of 13.19 acres on Horse Creek Road from AG-Agricultural Forestry to MFR-Multi-Family Residential. The proposed use of this property is to construct multi-family apartment rental units, specifically ten units with each one under 1100 square feet. The commissioners approved this request.

Another rezoning request that had been filed was by Good Ol' Boys Landscaping to rezone two acres from RR-Rural Residential to MFR-Multi-Family Residential. The proposed use of this property is to construct multi-family apartment rental units, specifically single one-bedroom apartments, all handicapped accessible. This would include two four-unit buildings, so eight one-bedroom apartments overall, with shared easements for the driveways. This rezoning request was also approved.

A variance request was approved from Devin M. Newell to add an additional mobile home to Tax/Map Parcel 018-032-002, due to a medical hardship, which has been approved by the Health Department. With no opposition, this variance was approved