By Nick Nunn staff writer

The Morgan County Planning Commission reviewed an application from Kelly Products, Inc., who is requesting that 47.56 acres at 2620 Eatonton Highway, Madison, be rezoned from Agricultural to General Commercial (C2). According to the staff report, the proposed use of the property is a “retail/agritourism establishment, consisting of a specialty grocery, cafe, farmer’s market, artisan shops, and you-pick fruit.” Morgan County Planning Director Chuck Jarrell recommended in his staff report that the property be split and that the applicant only rezone nine acres at this time. Jarrell’s recommendation was based on the possibility of the project failing, which would still leave the whole 47 acres of property zoned C2. Jarrell said that the applicant was “amendable” to the request, and he noted that Kelly Products, Inc., can also come back to rezone the remaining property at a later date.

The staff report indicates that rezoning only nine acres at this time would still provide enough land to support the project as presented. Commission Member Dennis Myers asked about the proposed hours of operation for the farmer’s market, showing concern that they remain “friendly to the consumer,” and Jarrell stated that he did not have that information. Commission Member Spencer Knight said that he doesn’t think a farmer’s market of this size can be supported with local farmers and expressed concern with the traffic that could be involved with larger vehicles bringing produce into the facility. Planning Commission Chair Brian Lehman reminded the commissioners that they were only asked to look at the rezoning application. “It’s up to the owner to make it succeed,” said Lehman.

The commission also looked at a conditional use request to operate an event facility at 2911 Clack Road, Madison. Serenata Farm, Inc., the applicant, proposes using approximately four acres of the 50-acre property as a facility for weddings and private parties. The application states that the applicant will utilize a tent for events and that portions of the 8,000 square foot house may be offered for specific needs or smaller events.

There is a parking area on site to support up to 300 cars, and the applicant intends to use portable toilets initially before deciding whether to construct permanent public restrooms. Events at the proposed facility will be catered. Myers stated that he didn’t like the “open-ended” indications of whether or not permanent restrooms would be installed.

Jarrell said that there is no code requiring permanent bathrooms to be installed, only that restrooms are ADA-compliant. The commission briefly discussed a text amendment to the city of Madison’s ordinance regarding tennis court illumination. Ben Windham, on behalf of Von and Christy Friesen, requested that the maximum height of light poles or fixtures for tennis courts be increased from 20 feet to 22 feet. Madison staff suggested a requirement that tennis court illumination include “night-sky features,” which would prevent upward glare.