Conceptual image of the wedding venue planned for Talking Rock Road, as presented at the planning commission meeting.
In a rare move, the Pickens Board of Commissioners voted to approve a conditional use permit for a proposed wedding/events venue, going against the planning commission’s recommendation.
At their Thursday, Dec. 20 meeting, commissioners approved the conditional use permit requested by Stacey Bagwell and Mike Ware for a 33.6-acre tract at 3155 Talking Rock Road. The property owners plan to construct a 6,500-square-foot, $300,000 building for weddings and other gatherings.
In a 3-2 vote, the planning commission opposed the request following a public hearing last week where nearby residents expressed concerns about the disruption of a quiet lifestyle an event venue could bring.
Wedding and events venue proposals have caused issues for the county in terms of permitting, with no clear guidelines for approval or operation of these venues. The county is working to update land use and county codes to address the issue. Among issues the planning commission cited before voting against the permit were the county’s requirement these venues be on agricultural-zoned property, and a possible over-saturation of wedding venues in the county.
But commissioners voted to approve the permit following several questions to interim Development Officer Rodney Buckingham, who was in attendance. Commissioner Denney asked about plans presented by property owners, as well as where on the property the building will be constructed. Buckingham said the plan was high-quality, one of the best the county has seen for an events venue, and reported the building will be in the center of the property several hundred feet away from the property line.
In a later interview, Denney, when asked why she went against the planning commission’s recommendation, said, “I just didn’t see any reason to vote against it, especially when looking at the plans and seeing where the building will be on the property.”
Other news from the meeting:
•Commissioner Jerry Barnes was sworn in as the west end district commissioner for another four-year term.
•Commissioners approved the following individuals to the recreation board for a two-year term: Donna Enis; Brian Cleghorn and Jess Walker.
•Commissioners approved the following individuals to the Pickens/Bartow Joint Development Authority for a six-year term: Phil Landrum, Dan Pool, and Todd Payne.
•Commissioners reapproved Bart Connelly to Position D on the tax assessors board for a five-year term.