Year-round haunted house gets Coweta nod

The Coweta County Commission by a 4-1 vote on March 4 approved a request by the “13 Stories” haunted house venue off Ga. Highway 16 that provides for year-round operation and removes an earlier requirement that an off-duty sheriff’s deputy be positioned in the nearby residential area to screen traffic approaching the business.

Owner Allyn Glover at the Feb.18 meeting requested that two conditions accompanying his September approval to re-locate his facility to the old Playtex plant off Hwy. 16 be removed. The public hearing was conducted but the vote was not taken until the March 4 meeting so that Commissioner Al Smith, in whose district the business is located, could be present.

Though approved in September, Glover at the Feb. 18 meeting said the new location did not open for Halloween due to the amount of work required at the new location.

Commissioner Tim Lassetter prior to the March 4 vote reiterated his past support for the business move from Ware Road to the current location. Noting that issues had prevented 13 Stories from operating during the Halloween period so commissioners could have a better input on the current request, Lassetter said his “no” vote came over concerns about the hours of operation and being open throughout the year.

At both the March 4 and Feb. 18 commission meetings there were no speakers opposed to the request. The absence of public speakers was in stark contrast to the group who attended the September meeting and were opposed to the request to locate the business near their neighborhood.

“When the applicant originally leased the facility a multiple-season haunted house was a consideration. Now due to the expenses that have occurred to meet code and conditions, the applicant has fast-paced the request to use the facility for a year-round seasonal amusement business,” Planning and Development Director Robert Tolleson said at the Feb. 18 meeting.

The new request asked that previously imposed conditions 8 and 18 be amended.

Condition 8 dealt with the hours of operation while condition 18 was added at the September commission meeting to have an off-duty deputy stationed in the area of the adjacent Red Acres subdivision to help mitigate or screen traffic from using the residential area as an point of entry to the rear of the 13 Stories facility.

Sheriff Mike Yeager was contacted and advised that deputies could not deny access to a public road, Tolleson said.

The planning department recommended approval of the two requests.

Glover last year said he would find another location in Coweta County to hold Horror Hill, the long-running Halloween venue, after the Coweta County Commission said his Ware Road location would have to go due to county zoning changes. Commissioners in September approved a special use permit that would relocate the seasonal venue, now called “13 Stories,” on industrial property on Temple Avenue.

The site approved by commissioners was the site of the old Playtex plant located on 4.6 acres at 320 Temple Avenue. The 54,000 square-foot building is located on property near Ga. Highway 16 that carries an industrial zoning.

Commissioners gave unanimous approval to the request that included a number of conditions. Though zoned for years as an industrial site where three shifts per day can operate, a number of residents from the nearby subdivision asked that the special use permit not be granted for fear that some patrons would use streets in their neighborhood to access the site.

“13 Stories” in September was approved to operate during September, October and the first two weeks of November.