Board OKs developer’s changes
by Geoff Folsom
April 18, 2012 12:42 AM | 5939 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rex Horney stands in front of the building he plans to turn into a children's event center. <br> Photo by Lindsay Fendt
Rex Horney stands in front of the building he plans to turn into a children's event center.
Photo by Lindsay Fendt
MARIETTA — The Cobb Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 Tuesday to let developer Rex Horney make yet another change to his plans for a northeast Cobb building that’s waited years for a tenant.

Horney said Snowie Joes Family Fun House, billed as a site for children’s birthday parties, looks to open May 1 in the 8,100-square-foot building at 775 Hawkins Store Road, just off Canton Road. The facility’s website, www.snowie, claims that it will feature a nine-hole “black light” miniature golf course, a four-story playground and inflatable attractions.

Horney received a site plan amendment for the property on Oct. 18, with the stipulation that it be used as the Volley One Volleyball training facility. But Horney said the owner of that club had made other arrangements for a practice facility by the time commissioners approved the amendment.

Still, Horney went ahead and made improvements commissioners required for the exterior of the building, though not within deadlines the board had set. He had been required to finish the exterior of the building within 30 days and the inside by Jan. 6.

But Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, who represents the area that includes the building, said Horney has made more progress on the building in the last six months than he had in the previous five years.

“I really believe he’s on the right track to finishing it and getting a good tenant in there,” she said. “I hope it will be very successful.”

Ott did not attend Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners zoning hearing because he is taking part in required training as part of his job as a Delta Air Lines pilot.

While Horney has received opposition to his projects in the past, the only person who wanted to address commissioners on the subject Tuesday was Carol Brown, chairwoman of Canton Road Neighbors, who supported Horney’s latest plan.

“We’re very pleased and happy about the way this property has turned out,” Brown said.

Horney said the business will be one the community can be proud of.

“I’m thankful for all the support I’ve gotten from the people in the community,” he said.

Horney has been working with the county to get the building open for business since 2005. His plans have gone through several different businesses and even prompted the county to change the way it handles building permits after he apparently issued different plans to different agencies in 2007.

Just to the south on Canton Road, two planned Clear Channel electronic billboards didn’t receive such a warm welcome. Commissioners approved a billboard at 3284 Canton Road by a 4-0 vote, but agreed to allow the company to discuss a second billboard planned for 3205 Canton Road with residents, holding it for 30 days.

Bryan Gaylor, Clear Channel vice president for real estate and public affairs, said the company had to get approval for the billboards because they are within 500 feet of a residence. But he noted that the only person to live within 500 feet of the billboard commissioners approved was the owner of the property the billboard will go on.

But Jim Smith, one of three people opposed to the first planned billboard, said electronic billboards are already causing distractions on Canton Road.

“You just spent a great deal of money for safety improvements on Canton highway,” Smith told commissioners. “And the other day my wife was rear-ended because a girl was reading the sign at Dunkin Donuts.”

Gaylor asked commissioners to hold discussion on the second billboard after eight people rose in opposition to it.

Birrell said that Clear Channel will be responsible for removing three of its existing billboards in her district for each electronic sign it puts up. That doesn’t include the billboard that is being replaced by the electronic sign.

A decision on plans to allow for the Bankhead C&D Transfer Station, located on Veterans Memorial Highway in south Cobb, to take in household waste was held until at least May. John Pederson, Cobb zoning division manager, said the county is still waiting on the results of a Federal Aviation Administration investigation on the impact of birds that gather at the site on planes taking off at nearby Fulton County Airport.
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