The board approved the purchase of land for two parks during its meeting Tuesday night. It also approved moving forward with a change in use of the Cherokee Children's Stabilization and Assessment Center and approved changes to the conservation subdivision ordinance to allow smaller lots.
The county will purchase 141 acres on Alison Lane along the Etowah River north of Canton for a total of $2.82 million.
"It is a beautiful site and a good location," said Commissioner Harry Johnston, who also serves on the county parks and recreation advisory committee. He said the site was flat and had a lot of river frontage.
It also purchased a total of 51.06 acres on Univeter Road near Canton for $2.39 million. The land is next to the existing Kenny Askew Park.
"This is a great opportunity to take a small but heavily used park and turn it into a significant park," Johnston said about the property.
Both pieces of property will be purchased with funds from the county's $90 million parks bond, which was approved by voters last fall to improve parks and recreation opportunities in Cherokee.
The board also approved a resolution of support for a change in the use of the children's stabilization and assessment center in Canton and to send a letter to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) requesting the change.
Programs and services associated with the center have been suspended since the state ended its practice of placing children in emergency shelters. The Anna Crawford Children's Center, currently located in southwest Cherokee, would move into the center.
County Manager Jerry Cooper said the Anna Crawford center's current home is "too old."
"It is just not meeting their needs," he said about the building. The Anna Crawford center counsels abused children and provides parenting classes and other educational programs to the community.
He said the Anna Crawford center would move into the shelter building once approval is granted from the DCA. The board also voted to use of $100,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds originally awarded for the renovation of the Anna Crawford building to instead be used to make minor modifications to the shelter to suit the center's needs.
The board also approved an amendment to the county's conservation subdivision ordinance. It passed 3-2, with Johnston and Commissioner Jim Hubbard opposed.
The ordinance previously allowed all lots in a conversation subdivision to be half the district minimum size. For example, a lot in an R-40 single-family residential conservation subdivision could be as small as 20,000 square feet (a regular R-40 subdivision has 40,000-square-foot lots).
In the revised ordinance, as much as 20 percent of the total lots in agricultural and R-80 single-family through R-30 single-family residential and 10 percent of the lots in R-20 and R-15 single-family residential could be platted as small as 25 percent of the standard district lot size. The remaining lots must be as large or larger than the average lot size for the zoning district.
The average lot size of all the lots shall be at least 35,000-square-feet in agricultural, 32,000-square feet in R-80, 24,000-square feet in R-60, 16,000-square-feet in R-40, 12,000-square-feet in R-30, 10,000-square-feet in R-20 and 7,500-square-feet in R-15. The new ordinance also requires board of commissioner approval to build a conservation subdivision in agricultural and R-80 zoning districts.
Johnston and Hubbard opposed the amendment, as they favored making it a requirement that the smaller lots be in the interior of developments.