Take me out to the ball field, not in my back yard

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

UPDATE: The Harris County Board of Commissioners voted 3-1 to deny the rezone.

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - Baseball is America's favorite pastime, but some property owners in Harris County do not want it close to their homes.

A landowner wants to build an athletic complex on his land, and while the planning department has already shot it down, he is hoping to have better luck with the County Commission.

John Rodgers hopes the Harris County Commission will vote to rezone his land to Commercial Outdoor Recreation. This means he can go ahead with the development of baseball fields for south Harris County.

Some residents in the Fortson Area and especially the Chase Plantation Subdivision that have homes backing up to the land in question are upset.

"The problem is that any travel ball thing will have a lot of noise and pollution and property value would still go down," explained Tom Greenhaw.

Greenhaw lives in Chase Plantation and has sons that played baseball in the past. He says he is not against developing fields in the county, just in his back yard.

He and some of his neighbors in the subdivision have signed a petition and will go before the Harris County Commissioners to ask that they deny the request to rezone to commercial. He believes once the land is zoned for commercial it will open the doors for development that is unwanted in the rural neighborhood.

But, land owner John Rodgers says he is here to benefit the community.  He told News Leader Nine, "We are here for the long haul. I did not come in and develop a neighborhood and going to move out. I was born and raised in Harris County. I have worked with youth kids in Harris County since I was 20 years old."

He also wants to dispel any rumors that alcohol will be sold at the fields.

The Harris County Planning Department voted 5-0 to deny the rezoning.

If the commission does the same, Rodgers says he may have to sell.

"What we want is the right to be able to use our property. I understand there are back yards to neighbors, but as some spot their back yard has to stop and my front yard has to begin," said Rodgers.

Greenhaw and the other upset neighbors plan to be at the Commission meeting on Tuesday, June 7th at 7 p.m. to voice their strong opinion against rezoning before the votes are cast.

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