A landmark of the Lincoln Park community will soon be reopened, thanks to the Upson County Board of Commissioners approving a rezoning of 1449 Zorn Street, which housed Mattie Pickard Grocery for more than 25 years. Mrs. Pickard’s children petitioned to have the zoning changed from R-5 (single family residential) to C-1 (neighborhood commercial) and gained recommendation for approval from the Upson County Planning Commission before the matter went to the county commissioners, who unanimously approved the change at their meeting on June 9, with the condition that it only be used as a grocery store.
Prior to the approval earlier this month, the same request had been made a year and a half ago, and while approved by both the Upson County Planning Commission and the Joint Planning Commission, it was denied by the Board of Commissioners due to concerns of it not being in line with the overall plan for Lincoln Park and inadequate parking.
Planning and Zoning Director Doug Currier, II, stated the store was really never in the correct zoning to begin with. He noted that the .23 acre lot did not meet the requirements for either zoning district (r-5 or c-1), and while it could be debated both ways, he was inclined to approve the matter given the history of the store at the location. The owners ceased to renew their Occupation Tax Certificate after 2010; therefore it lost the grandfathering status it had, which is why it had to be rezoned before opening again. He also noted there would be no beer or alcohol sold at this location given it is located only 50 feet away from Mt. Calvary Church.
After Currier’s presentation, Commissioner Lorenzo Wilder made a motion to approve the rezoning of the property with the condition that the building only be used for a grocery store. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Frank Spraggins and approved 5-0.
In other business, the commissioners held the first reading of a change to the sign posting ordinance for special exceptions. The proposed change would require for signage to be posted for all special exceptions requested for zoning and the sign would have to be two feet by three feet and posted on the property at least 15 days, but no more than 45 days before the public hearing. It would also have to show date, time and place of the public hearing. The board plans to hold the second reading and subsequent vote on the matter at their next regular meeting on Tuesday, June 23.
Finally, Chairman Rusty Blackston stated he wanted to clear up some issues he has heard from citizens about concerning Sprewell Bluff. He continued noting that several comments had been made about the park being funded by Upson County tax dollars and many citizens were upset about having to pay a parking fee when using the facilities.
“We’ve had some comments made and I’d like to make some things clear,” Blackston began. “Sprewell Bluff is not a tax burden upon the citizens of Upson County. I’ll just call it like a small enterprise fund-no tax dollars Upson County pays go into Sprewell Bluff. We’ve had some people comment that they don’t think they should be charged to parking fee to go down there (which is) five dollars a day, $10 for senior citizens a year and $20 for a season pass. I just want it known we don’t put any tax money into it. What is being paid down there by the parking funds helps to support it. Just let it be known, none of your tax dollars are going into it.”
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1