By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer

The Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) approved a request by Kelly Products on June 3, to rezone 47.56 acres located at 2620 Eatonton Highway in Madison from Agricultural (AG) to General Commercial (C2), with a stipulation that if the venture fails or is closed for 12 consecutive months, then the undeveloped portion of the property would revert back to an AG zoning classification. “We feel that this development is an excellent use of this particular tract of land and well aligned with the development efforts of Morgan County.

This business will help strengthen the county’s already robust tourism and agricultural offerings,” said Keith Kelly, owner of Kelly Products. “We think this will bring good things to our community,” said Andy Ainslie, chairman of the BOC. The property will be transformed into Farmer’s Market with adjacent artisan shops, specialty grocery, and a restaurant. There has been no formal complaints or objections to the development, but concerns over the sufficiency of nearby roadways are being explored. Tara Cooner, county planner, noted that it will be up to the Department of Transportation (DOT) to decide if the roadway will need widening and a left turn lane added.

“We are still waiting on the DOT to make that determination,” said Cooner. Keith Kelly, owner of Kelly Products, has been working on this project for two year, traveling the country to research how the best farmer’s markets are fun. Kelly announced to the BOC last month that he recently purchased three 1800-era barns made of hand-hewn lumber from New York for the first phase of the development. According to Kelly’s plan, “approximately 75 percent of the store will be constructed out of salvaged barn frames dating back to the mid-l800s.

The remaining 25 percent of the store will be constructed in such a way to complement the aesthetic created by the old barn timbers and will house the customer service portion of the cafe mentioned previously…The specialty grocery and cafe, and the processing and storage area will cover approximately 12,000 15,000 square feet. An open air farmers market will be constructed in close vicinity to the retail store to be no less than 4,000 square feet, which will allow for a minimum of 24 spaces for selling goods, with the potential of up to 48 spaces pending layout.”

The BOC also approved Serenata Farm for a conditional use permit to operate an event facility at 2911 Clack Road in Madison. Serenata Farm plans to use four acres of the 50 acre property to build facilities for weddings and other private parties and events. Serenata Farm will mainly use tents for larger events and a portion of the 8,000 square-foot house on the property for smaller events and specific needs. The site can handle parking up to 300 cars. Serenata Farm is planning to try portable toilets before deciding on whether or not to construct permanent restrooms. Bobby Robinson, representation for Serenata Farm, assured the BOC that the condition of the property would always be the first priority and doesn’t expect events to have more than 150 people at a time.