BOC denies special land use permit for towing company, approves hotel at I-75 and Barrett Parkway,

Cobb County government building sign, a vertical rectangular sign with the words "Board of Commissioners," "County Clerk," "County Manager," "County Office," "Employment," and a wheelchair entrance icon

By Caleb Groves

MARIETTA, Ga.- The Cobb County Board of Commission hosted a zoning hearing on Tuesday, June 20, where zoning for a hotel and zoning for a subdivision was approved, as well as a denial for renewal for a car towing business.

During the commission meeting, Ray Murphy, owner of American Eagle Towing and Transportation, requested the renewal of a Special Land Use Permit for his business located at 1818, 1830 Austell Road. With no opposition, the commission denied the application after reviewing the property and the owner’s history.

Murphy had numerous code violations regarding trash storage outside of enclosed spaces, trees being cut down without permission and noncompliance with recommendations from the county.

“Code Enforcement and Zoning have both gone above and beyond to help this applicant, yet (compliance) has yet to be achieved,” said Chairwoman Keli Gambrill. “Therefore, I support the staff’s recommendation to deny SLUP-4 of 2023, with all vehicles to be removed from the site by Sept. 19th of 2023.”

The applicant also surpassed the allotted limit of cars stored on the property. The property was approved for 150 vehicles. However, the owners held 194 vehicles as of June 14, 2023. The owner was also caught repairing vehicles on the property, which is prohibited under the permit.

Murphy was unable to attend due to a recent accident. In place of Murphy, his daughter Vickie Murphy-Norris represented him in the BOC meeting.

“My application has been very difficult, long and drawn out,” Murphy-Norris said.

The case started last year when Murphy was cited for code violations, which brought Murphy and the property to the commissioners in the first place. However, Murphy did start to clean the trash and keep the property more well-kept.

Murphy-Norris said that the cost of the renovations to update the property to code was out of reach for Murphy and had numerous alternate drawings from architects that she had proposed to the commission.

“I was asked to put a landscape and buffer plan in place. I was asked to have a hardened surface and a parking plan for wrecking and towing service. Originally, with the landscape buffer plan, we did have the fence ready to go, half of the materials were already there. I have some things to flip through from where we started and I have diligently been working and putting everything that I need to put on a landscape and buffer plan. However, none of it would suffice for the county,” Murphy-Norris said.

Denial for renewal was unanimous, 5-0.

Prior to the denial of Murphy’s application renewal. A consent application was approved, which involved rezoning land for the building of a hotel on the west side of Roberts Court on the east side I-75 exit ramp, south of Earnest Barrett Parkway, with no opposition. After a few minor stipulation tweaks, zoning approval was unanimously supported by the council.

Another application approval involving a new subdivision was also unanimously supported with no opposition. Through work with surrounding communities, DRAPAC INVESTMENTS, LLC has come up with the final plans for the subdivision. The original plan had 63 homes, after being revised, the plan now has 59, Attorney Parks Huff said.

The layout of the subdivision has changed due to road safety concerns on Oak Hill Drive. The commission discussed what roads would be used for construction access, settling on Pine Crest Road, Brenda Drive, Linda Drive and Michael Road.

The subdivisions will be “Located on the west side of Michael Road, south of Vanesa Circle, at the terminus of Linda Drive, and at the terminus of Oak Hill Drive,” according to the BOC.

Caleb Groves is a Journalism student at Kennesaw State University, where he is a junior.

Originally from Minnesota, Caleb moved to Georgia with his family, where he now lives in Woodstock with his Father, Stepmom and numerous pets.

When he is not in writing, in class or coaching rock climbing, he spends his time listening to music and rock climbing both indoors and out