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Board votes to allow Hillz-N-Hollarz to reopen

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

General Manager

Two gates and fencing.

That's all that prevents the reopening of the Hillz-N-Hollarz off road vehicle park. After a nearly hour long discussion among the Henry County Planning and Zoning's Board of Adjustments Monday night, Hillz-N-Hollarz property owner Fred Snider, adjoining property owner Bill Heady and Planning and Zoning Administrator Greg Derossett were slated to meet Wednesday morning to review exact placement of two gates and associated fencing. The fencing is intended to prevent trespassers from going around the gates.

During the Monday night meeting, Hillz-N-Hollarz property manager William Joe Lawson provided the board with pictures of another gate that had been placed at one "point of confusion," as well as photos of trail signs.

Derossett said that after a site visit, and looking at Lawson's photos, he was satisfied that the conditions of the permit were met.

Heady's attorney, Jean Cunningham, questioned the gate that had been placed, saying it was secured to a tree with wire, and not to a fence post. He also said that someone could bypass the gate on one side because there was no fencing.

Board vice-chairman Dennis Yeary asked, several times, if Heady objected to Lawson installing gates on his property, instead of caution tape.

Heady said he'd like the board to "hold him to the conditions you people put to him."

"That was what this board agreed upon, that's what he agreed upon, that's one of the reasons you closed him down." He also implied that the board would have to be very specific to get compliance from Lawson and property owner Fred Snider.

According to the conditional use permit, the gates are to be placed at Snider and Lawson's expense, though Lawson wanted to know who would be responsible for damage caused by trespassers.

"Unfortunately, Hillz-N-Hollarz has been thrown into this whole trespassing mix," he said. "It's been going on - 35-40 years. I'm trying to be neighborly and fix these problems."

Yeary said he hoped simply to reach a point where the board wouldn't be meeting about Hillz-N-Hollarz issues every month, and said "we're never going to achieve perfection on trespassers." Instead, he said, it's the board's responsibility to try to ensure minimal trespassing.

"We all realize, not every trespasser ... has come from your property," Yeary said to Lawson and Snider.

Just as he questioned Heady about allowing installation of a gate, Yeary pressed Lawson and Snider on whether or not installing 12' gates and fencing would be a problem, asking the question several times.

Snider, attempted to strike a bargain, saying that if the board allowed the park to operate, he and Lawson would install the fence, leading Yeary to read the entire conditional use permit as issued last year.

"From the very beginning, this has been an issue," Yeary said of the gates.

Yeary moved to reinstate the permit, pending installation of the gates, and receipt of a letter from the department of transporation regarding the entrance to the park.

Before voting, Board of Adjustments chairman Robert Reed Bush asked if there was further discussion on the issue, which has clearly been draining for the board. "I hope not," one member replied, before the board voted to unanimously approve the motion.

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