The Highlands planning board approved a motion that brings The Farm at Old Edwards one step closer to being voluntarily annexed during the board’s June meeting.
Old Edwards Hospitality Group president Richard Delaney proposed the voluntary annexation, which will allow The Farm to receive Town of Highlands utilities and services. The property will then also fall under the town’s unified development ordinance.
“The Farm is a 22.7-acre property on Arnold Road and Old Edwards has requested a B3 zoning following the annexation,” Highlands town planner Michael Mathis said. “After reviewing the site, it’s my recommendation that we approve the annexation and the conditional zoning and send this to the zoning board for its approval.”
Mathis noted that under the town’s UDO, the annexation and the zoning are done simultaneously and that the early stages of the process are when the planning board can ask questions and propose conditions for the property owner.
Planning board chair Brad Armstrong asked whether the property is within town guidelines since it only has one ingress and egress along Arnold Road and also asked about the future of the property in terms of its use. The Farm at Old Edwards is currently an event venue that hosts large gatherings – primarily weddings.
“We have no plans to change the use of The Farm from its current use,” Delaney said. “When you look at the town code, we really don’t have any options for more development of that property because we are within one percent of the impervious surface requirements and we are fairly tight on the parking space requirement as well.”
Delaney pointed out that any future improvements to the property would have to be within town regulations and thus require approval from the town planner.
“I can’t say that we wont eventually use that one percent of the impervious surface limit that we have left to add a storage building, or something small like that, but we won’t be adding any large structures on the property,” Delaney said.
The board also questioned the facility’s ability to comply with the Town of Highlands noise ordinance during large events. If the property is annexed and zoned, the Highlands Police Department will have authority to enforce town ordinances. Currently, The Farm is unzoned in Macon County, and the county does not have a noise ordinance.
“In the past we have gotten some complaints from neighboring property owners about the noise, but we have taken steps to mitigate that and recently it hasn’t been a problem,” Delaney said. “We understand that being part of the town puts us under the town’s noise ordinance.”
A motion to approve the proposed annexation and zoning was approved unanimously and forwarded to the zoning board.
Hive Dive to change use
The High Dive on Carolina Way may soon be classified as a restaurant following a motion to approve a change of use by the planning board.
Mathis explained that when the High Dive opened, owner Thomas Craig combined two lots and requested one of the properties be listed as a “private club” and the other to be listed as a “restaurant.” The requirements for parking spaces and seating are different for those two uses.
Craig approached the board to ask that the entire property now be classified as a restaurant under a special use permit in order to unify the property under one set of regulations.
The board approved the proposal and forwarded it to the zoning board.