Polk to hold public hearing on TIEC rezoning

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, May 4, 2017

MILL SPRING – The Polk County Board of Commissioners set a public hearing for May 15 to rezone three parcels owned by Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) to equestrian village district.

Commissioners met April 25 and discussed the parcels that are currently zoned equestrian, multiple use and one parcel that is in an unzoned portion of the county.

Polk County Planner Cathy Ruth showed maps of the three parcels, which total 38.26 acres and include parcels P105-13, P105-20 and P105-66.

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Commissioner Ray Gasperson said all these properties are owned by TIEC and in the unzoned areas the equestrian center can follow whatever protocol they want.

“We have virtually no say,” Gasperson said.

He added that in zoned portions of the county the planning board gets involved with development and the commissioners get involved, whereas in an unzoned area they can do whatever they wish.

Ruth said that is true as far as land use goes but the county does have ordinances pertaining to matters such as subdivisions for the unzoned areas.

Gasperson said he doesn’t think TIEC is opposed to the rezoning.

“For us, it has to do with what can and cannot happen on these parcels,” Gasperson said.

During citizen comments, Michael DeVere encouraged the board to hold off on voting to rezone the TIEC property. He said there’s no protection for surrounding properties like the group who attended last week’s meeting. DeVere said nearby property owners have been suffering for months.

Commissioner Myron Yoder said the rezoning is for property owners’ protection. He said if the property is zoned at least they have to come to the county and TIEC and the county can have some dialogue.

DeVere said he’d like to see a buffer included in the zoning ordinance. He said there are manure piles on property lines.

“Where we bought there was no equestrian center,” DeVere said. “Now the equestrian center is the 800 pound gorilla and basically they are not being good neighbors.”

Commissioner chair Tommy Melton said the county is setting the public hearing to invite citizens to come forward and voice their concerns.

The public hearing is scheduled for May 15 at 6 p.m. The county will also have a budget work session on May 15, scheduled for 1 p.m. Both meetings will be held in the R. Jay Foster Hall of Justice, located on the second floor of the Womack building in Columbus.