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Korean Church permit OK'd in Coweta

Denial of public comment debated by Collins, Poole

The Korean Church of Newnan Tuesday was approved for a conditional use permit to build a new facility on Lora Smith Road near Ga. Highway 34.

The church plans to build a 6,055 square foot building on the 4.28 acre site with 128 parking spaces. The property is zoned for rural conservation use and there are no plans for a child care or private school facility.

The commission increased the buffer along an adjoining residential property from 25 to 50 feet, and all other development conditions imposed by the county were acceptable, a church spokesman said. The church will be required to perform a traffic study to determine if a turn lane on Lora Smith Road is necessary.

Discussion on the church became somewhat heated among Commissioner Randolph Collins and Chairman Paul Poole after Poole turned away two people who asked to speak about the permit.

One of those people was Jonathan Adair of Atlanta, who is a grandson of the very Lora Smith whom the road is named after.

Adair insisted that he was told, ostensibly by a county employee, that the commission would hear him out before granting the conditional use permit for the church.

Adair ceded that the outcome might have been the same, but “we were told at the zoning commission that we could reconvene here to address the commission based on our concerns,” Adair said.

Poole contended that the speakers’ chance to have their say on the matter was at the zoning hearing. Collins agreed, but argued that the county should develop a pamphlet that would help residents understand the various rules and regulations as they apply to all departments.

Poole responded that he thought the commission had already addressed that situation.

“I don’t think we have,” Collins said.

“Sir, you voted for it!” Poole replied.

Commissioner Tim Lassetter soon intervened, nothing that none of the commissioners want their constituents to feel the commission “doesn’t want to hear their opinion” on any topic. He also noted there are rules for public comment.

Poole noted that several meetings ago the commission approved new public comment rules.

“I’m not fighting the rules,” Collins said. “We just need an information tool where any citizen can come in and get the rules ... just make the rules more publicly available.”

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