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Planned auto parts store gets variance

Posted: March 11, 2012 - 1:07am
Columbia County Construction and Maintenance Division Director Matt Schlachter (from left) and District 2 County Commissioner Trey Allen presented the county's Employee of the Month award to Facility Services Manager Paul Scarbary during Tuesday's county commission meeting.  Photo by Barry Paschal
Photo by Barry Paschal
Columbia County Construction and Maintenance Division Director Matt Schlachter (from left) and District 2 County Commissioner Trey Allen presented the county's Employee of the Month award to Facility Services Manager Paul Scarbary during Tuesday's county commission meeting.

The Columbia County Commission approved a variance last week to ease the construction plans for a new auto parts store in Evans.

Commissioners agreed to reduce a setback from 20 to 10 feet where the land proposed for an Advance Auto Parts location abuts residential property on the 4500 block of Washington Road.

The builder, though, wanted another variance commissioners could not immediately grant during the Tuesday meeting.

“When you reduce your setback to 10 feet, now you have to put in a structural buffer ... a fence or wall,” county Development Services Director Richard Harmon said Wednesday.

To do otherwise requires another variance, Harmon said.

To improve road visibility for the planned store, builder Don Moody asked commissioners to reduce the buffer requirement from 6 feet to 3 feet. He said he wishes to build a 6-foot tall fence at the rear of the store, but plant 3-foot high hedges from the store to the road.

However, commission Chairman Ron Cross said such a matter first must go through the county planning commission.

Commissioners voted to waive the $535 variance fee needed to take the request back to the zoning board, which meets Thursday.

Also at the meeting, commissioners ended a lease agreement on property that houses an Appling fire station.

The Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue Station No. 15 at 5701 Burks Mountain Road contains equipment but is unmanned, according to county documents.

The commission voted to terminate the lease with Pollard Lumber Co. Inc. for the about quarter-acre parcel effective Thursday.

County Emergency and Operations Director Pam Tucker said last week that the lease termination is meant to save on utility costs. Tucker said other fire stations will take over coverage of the Station No. 15 area. The nearest staffed stations are about 3 miles north on Clarks Hill Road and about 4 miles east on Ray Owens Road.

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