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County okays rezoning for Ranew’s expansion

The Lamar County commission approved rezoning of just over 10 acres of land off McLean Road fro an expansion at Ranew’s Fleet Services. The property is owned by SLR Properties, the real estate holdings arm of Lester Ranew’s operations. Part of the land was previously zoned A-R (agricultural-residential) and another part was R-3 (single family residential). Neighbors had urged the commission to use caution. Billy Avery asked that no commercial trucks be allowed to use McLean Road. He also wanted an old graveyard on the site protected and kept open for visits by family members and suggested a Level 3 environmental study be done on the property. Carl Pruett said multiple Indian artifacts have been found in the area and gravestones have been pushed up with a bulldozer. He urged the commission to exercise caution. ‘Go slow. Get the environmental study done. Make sure the graves are not disturbed and make good decisions,’ Pruett urged. Ray Grizzard, environmental officer for Ranew’s, told the commission the plant is monitored extensively regarding environmental concerns and has an EPD air quality permit. ‘We just need room to grow. We are not changing what we do. We are an industrial coating facility. We do a lot of business with John Deere and Caterpillar and could lose that business over environmental issues,’ Grizzard said. He said the gravestones had been pushed up under a tree when Ranew bought the land years ago. ‘We are not going to get anywhere close to those graves,’ Grizzard added. The commission eventually voted to rezone the property M-1 (light manufacturing) with the conditions that lighting in the area be redirected and a tree buffer be replanted. They did not require the environmental study. The buffer had been planted previously on a berm but spraying done by DOT or someone killed the trees, Grizzard said. There was speculation the graves could constitute yet another Wadsworth family plot. In other action, the commission: ’¢Rezoned 15.82 acres on McKneely Road from AR to R-2 (residential) for Gary Adams who will split the land into six lots. ’¢Approved a new county logo and which carries the slogan ‘˜Home is just better here’. ’¢Approved routine minutes. ’¢Okayed a $1600 upgrade for the magistrate court which will allow for remote acquisition of search warrants by law enforcement officers. ’¢Okay the purchase of a new fire truck for $342,324. This was part of the SPLOST plan and will be paid for with those funds. ’¢Proclaimed April 9-13 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

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