Buckhead’s Town Council is still mulling over standards for the town’s zoning ordinance, asking county planning officials to revise the newly-proposed changes, which may not be voted on until July or August.

While the Town Council voted to lift the moratorium on “all new constructions” in Buckhead early this month, the town council voted to enact a new moratorium on Monday, May 3 that applies to all new residential single-family dwellings and all new commercial constructions for 90 days.

“It’s still pretty extensive,” said County Planning Director Chuck Jarrell of the new moratorium now in effect. “County planning staff is drafting requested changes to Buckhead’s zoning ordinance and will present those changes to the Morgan County Planning Commission this summer, who will then vote to make a recommendation for approval or denial to the Buckhead Town Council.”

For months, Buckhead’s Town Council has been debating how best to overhaul the zoning ordinance for all residential and commercial structures.

According to Jarrell, some of the requested changes include streamlining lot-size requirements and upping square-footage requirements.

Jarrell expects to unveil the new changes at the Morgan County Planning Commission’s June regular meeting and then have the new zoning ordinance go to a vote before the Buckhead Town Council in July or August at the latest.

While revamping the entire zoning ordinance would apply to all residential and commercial structures throughout all of Buckhead, the debate among town council members has revolved around two corner parcels comprising two acres along Parks Mill Road, Saffold Road and Seven Islands Road in Buckhead.

An unidentified engineering firm recently inquired of county planning staff about the land and standards for development. Some Buckhead councilmen speculated it could be a firm representing Dollar General, but that has not been confirmed.

The Buckhead Council is also wrestling with “agri-tourism” allowances, after Raul Rivera requested to open a 278-acre agri-business within the Town of Buckhead.

Rivera is the owner of Callidora Ranch, a dude ranch and trail destination that is also a working cattle farm. Only 70 acres of the ranch are within the town limits with the remaining 200+ acres on its edge.

Rivera is asking the council to adopt a long list of both permitted uses and conditional uses pertaining to agri-tourism, in hopes that Buckhead will include such allowances in the town’s revamped zoning ordinances. If such agri-tourism standards are adopted, Rivera will ask Buckhead to annex the rest of the land into the city limits.

Among the requested allowances include permitted uses of a farmers market, ranch tours, rodeos, overnight lodging, petting zoos, roadside stands, horse shows, fee fishing and hunting, zip lines, dog trails, and agri-tourism restaurants. Conditional uses would include meat processing, wineries, and public special events.

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