Cherokee Postpones Hickory Flat Zoning Request — Again

A controversial plan to bring around 100 homes to the Hickory Flat community is being considered by Cherokee County.

Credit: Patch file.
Credit: Patch file.
A controversial request to build a conservation subdivision in Hickory Flat has once again been postponed.

The Cherokee County Commission voted 4-1, with Commissioner Brian Poole opposing, to table until May 6 a request from Chatham Neighborhoods LLC to rezone 67.5 acres from office-institutional, R-40 residential and agricultural to R-15 to build a conservation subdivision. 

The property is located between Batesville Road and S.R. 140/Hickory Flat Highway. District 2 Commissioner Ray Gunnin, whose post includes the property under consideration, said tabling the decision for another month would give the county time to review the new plat submitted last Thursday by the developer. 

The plans originally started out with R-15 rezoning, which Gunnin said he felt was "too dense" for the area. However, Gunnin added the commission wants to review the new plat to see if it would lower the density of the project.

District 1 Commissioner Harry Johnston said a comparison of the county's land-use plan would permit about 70 homes in the project. 

He said the county should try to stick as close as possible to its land use plan.

"I think we are close enough that we can find a way to make it work, and I hope this time will be used for that purpose," he said, adding he thinks the project should be scaled back further. 

While most of the feedback the county commission has received on the proposed development has been negative, some residents actually spoke in favor of the plans.

Darcy Miller, a member of Hickory Flat United Methodist Church, said "the opposition has done a great job of being very vocal in their campaign against this vote."

"However, that does not mean that they represent the community," she said. "As a matter of fact, I would deduce that they represent a small minority on this issue."

She went on to say that there's a lack of affordable housing inventory in Cherokee County, and approving the proposal would bring long-term positive effects to the county.

Resident Danny Mackey agreed. 

"I would agree that the original zoning for this property...was too dense, but in light of the changes, I would definitely like to see the board to approve the rezoning," he added. 

One resident, Karan Sacandy, noted she was on the one hand, "indifferent" about the project, but on the other, she was in favor of it.

Sacandy also chided residents who spoke out against the plan, accusing them of dictating what should be done with the property owners' land.

"Y'all don't own the property," she said. "There are rights to (owning) property. "If people in here want to tell them what to do with the property, you should go buy it."


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