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County refuses rezoning for Highway 17 convenience store

As a winter storm threatened Tuesday, Liberty County commissioners dealt with the shortest agenda in recent memory, turning down rezoning for a convenience store at 414 Limerick Road.
Patel Rajnikant petitioned to rezone 1.74 acres on Limerick, its the intersection with Highway 17. Jonathan Clark, agent for the project, told commissioners he thought the community would appreciate a place to buy gas and pick up convenience items. He said neither of the two nearest property owners objected to the plan for the convenience store.
The staff of the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission had recommended denial of the petition, noting that the requested change from agriculture to general commercial did not conform to the comprehensive land use plan. The LCPC checklist for zoning changes also showed several problems with the request and the planning commission voted for the denial.
Commissioner Pat Bowen, who represents the area, said he had received several calls from residents opposing the change. LCPC staff said two or three emails had been received opposing the rezoning and seven or eight people had attended the LCPC meeting to voice opposition.
The county commission followed the LCPC recommendation and denied the rezoning petition. Commissioner Gary Gilliard cast a dissenting vote.
LCPC documents show that the rezoning would possibly have an adverse effect on the value and usability of nearby property, as well as allow rights that are denied to others and would be spot zoning.
Also at the short meeting Tuesday, commissioners set the qualifying fees for candidates running for election in 2018. The fees are based on the pay established for the office: county commissioner, $54, school board member, $180 and school board chairman, $256.
An item on the agenda of Tuesday’s meeting called for the commissioners to name a chairman for the county election board, but the decision was postponed again as was in December. The chairmanship has been vacant since Steve Mullice died in October.
Feb. 14 is the date for the commissioners annual planning meeting; the day-long session will start at 8:30 a.m. at Mid-Coast Regional Airport at Wright Army Airfield. All meetings of the commission are open to the public.

Parker can be contacted by email at

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