In a unanimous vote, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners struck down a proposed youth ballpark rezoning last week.
Russ Stephens petitioned the county to rezone 40 acres on Lumpkin Campground Road from single family residential to commercial highway business in order to develop a privately-owned baseball field complex that caters to youth travel ball clubs between the ages of eight and 18.
While the board was in agreement that the proposed ballpark would be a plus for Dawson County and the surrounding area, concern over rezoning a residential area for commercial use was an issue for the board.
Stephens addressed the economy and the downturn in residential property sales saying the proposed ballpark would not be permanent, possibly for 20 years, until the land could be developed for more suitable infrastructure.
District 2 Commissioner Terri Tragesser said she had reservations about changing the county’s future land use plan to suit current economic needs.
“Given any particular plans in the history of Dawson County, we’re going to have peeks. Those are all snapshots in time, and we can’t take our future land use maps and try to steer it to what’s hot and moving in this county,” she said.
District 3 Commissioner Mike Connor addressed recent discussions between Stephens, Dawson County and Etowah Water and Sewer Authority referring to a proposed trade for land deemed more suitable for the proposed ballpark.
“I told them I would consider it, but after looking at the proposed swapping of property, property values and the topography of this land and the quality I want to give, it is unacceptable to do the type of facility,” Stephens said.
Following public comment, both for and against the ballpark, expert opinion addressing public concerns, questions concerning changes to a site plan map and vocal residents from three neighboring subdivisions, the board denied the request 4-0.
Calls to Stephens for additional comment were not returned as of Tuesday morning.
E-mail Michele Hester at firstname.lastname@example.org.