It was a meeting that eventually involved resident complaints.
First, though, Thursday night's Columbia County Planning Commission meeting began with a spirited discussion between two board members on a topic that could lead to more dialogue about how meetings are to be conducted.
The talk started with Tony Atkins saying he had consulted an outside attorney regarding a previous planning meeting in which board Chairman Tom Sprague made a motion to approve a county zoning ordinance, which was approved with no discussion called for from the board.
Atkins said the lawyer advised him there would be no grounds for Atkins to object because the planning commission has no official standard for operating procedures in meetings.
Atkins said that for a governing body that enforces zoning standards, he finds such a practice "pretty ironic."
At that point, Sprague said the issue is something that could be looked into with the new year.
He then provided his view of what a planning commissioner should be, a role that he said includes actively listening to the public and county staff.
Atkins said he didn't bring the issue up to hear what a planning commissioner should be. Sprague countered by saying he was simply trying to educate on the matter.
"I don't need an education from you,'' Atkins quickly replied.
And so began the meeting, a gathering that brought out a packed room for several proposed rezonings.
The first rezoning, for a more than 31-acre tract bordering the Columbia-Richmond County line on Flowing Wells Road, was tabled with a 5-0 vote as the commission agreed that more time was needed to discuss such things as a traffic study of the area.
A shopping center has been proposed for the site, but possible tenant names have not yet been divulged.
Then, there was a rezoning of a 0.43-acre site at 4567 Cox Road from Residential-2 to Professional-1. The commission voted 5-0 to allow the rezoning for a cleaning business office.
There also was a rezoning for a 17-acre site on Chamblin Road from Residential-Agriculture to Special-1, allowing Evans Christian Academy to place a 10,000-square-foot classroom building on the site. It would be followed by an 8,000-square-foot building.
Evans Christian officials said they plan to begin using the building in 2008. The college-prep school, established in 1991, has an enrollment of about 110 and would have between 135 and 150 students by 2008, academy officials said.
That recommendation for rezoning, approved unanimously, will go before the Columbia County Commission for final approval Jan. 2.
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