Powers Crossroads looks to expand festivals

Most people are familiar with the annual Powers Crossroads Festival in west Coweta County that has been a Labor Day event since 1971. But if the owners are successful in a proposal next month before the Coweta County Commission the once a year event could expand to a number of large and small events throughout the year.

Commissioners on April 17 will hear the request to rezone the 60.35-acre property at Ga. Highway 34 and Thomas Powers Road from Rural Conservation (RC) and Old Commercial (C) to RC-SUP (Rural Conservation-Special Use Permit) and C-SUP (Commercial-Special Use Permit). If successful, the site will become the home for four major events per year and several minor events each month.

The longstanding Powers Crossroads Festival draws countless thousands of visitors at its annual event each year during the Labor Day weekend. For those who have not visited the event it is a sight to behold, with vendors selling everything imaginable, endless types of food and a wide range of entertainment spanning several days. But there’s more. It is the setting itself. There is an event field in front of large covered performance stage. Beyond that is the remainder of the 60 acres, all wooded, that provides a completely unique shopping venue. It is like shopping along the winding paths of a thick forest set in rolling hills.

Proposed plans for the site include four major events per year such as music concerts, food festivals, arts and crafts festivals, charity dinners and events, rally events, monster truck events, historic reenactments and local or regional fairs. These events are expected to draw 5,000-10,000 people per day with a timeline of 1-5 days per event. Hours of operation would be 8 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. each day.

Plans also include proposed minor events such as antique car shows, family reunions, school reunions, weddings and receptions, corporate parties/picnics, camping opportunities, tree climbing groups, team building programs, horse/dog shows, church picnics, orienteering/survival skill workshops, summer camps, yard sales/flea markets and holiday activities. Proposed to be held several time per month, the events would draw 1,000-5,000 people per day for one or two days per event. The hours of operation would be 8 a.m. until 11:30 p.m.

County planning staff said the applicant has denoted the 2,000 parking spaces to the west of Thomas Powers Road where parking has been established over the years for the Labor Day weekend event. The applicant has also proposed utilizing the southeast corner of the field for a small stage with grass seating and sales of food, beverage and alcohol.

A portion of the festival property is located in Heard County. Heard County Commission Chairman June Jackson in a letter to the Coweta County Commission noted the sale of alcohol would have a negative affect in the portion of the property located in Heard County.

The county planning department is recommending approval of the rezoning request with 17 conditions. Those include:

1) The Fire Department will have unobstructed access on all service drives marked with red arrows on the site plan.

2) During events such as and not limited to tree climbing groups, etc. where emergency standby is required it will be the responsibility of the event organizers to pay off duty firefighters to standby for such events. The Coweta County Fire Marshal’s Office shall be consulted to determine if such events will require emergency standby.

3) All events having attendance of over 100 and alcohol is being sold shall submit a plan to the State Fire Marshal’s Office for approval along with the types of events planned.

4) At any event in which a tent is erected and there is an occupant load of over 100 with alcohol or an occupant load of over 300 without alcohol being sold or served, the State Fire Marshal’s Office will need to approve and inspect the tent.

5) As stated in the applicant’s narrative description, events shall be coordinated with the sheriff’s office & Georgia State Patrol and include off-duty sheriff’s deputies and state troopers for traffic control, patrolling parking areas and to oversee all event activities.

6) No permanent markings shall be made on Thomas Powers Road for pedestrian crossing(s). Temporary and patrolled pedestrian crossings shall be used to ensure pedestrian safety during events (that is, use of traffic cones to mark where pedestrians are to cross the roadway).

7) If over 5,000 square feet of permanent impervious surface is added or there is more than one acre of disturbed area, then the applicant shall address the current Coweta County Stormwater Management Ordinances and apply for a land disturbance permit (LDP).

8) Should a land disturbance permit (LDP) be required, then the applicant shall meet the requirements of the Coweta County Wetlands Protection and Floodplain Ordinances.

9) The area on the Conceptual Site Plan noting the 50-foot buffer shall adhere to Article 25 Buffer and Screening Requirements of the Coweta County Zoning & Development Ordinance. A buffer plan shall be submitted in accordance with Article 25 for approval. In addition, the established wooded areas along the southern and eastern property lines as depicted on the Conceptual Site Plan shall remain undisturbed, except where supplemental planting is required.

10) Alcohol sales shall be permitted only when provided through a licensed caterer under the regulations of the Coweta County Alcohol Ordinance.

11) Food service and restroom facilities, both temporary and permanent, shall meet the requirements of the Coweta County Environmental Health Department.

12) Lighting shall be established in such a manner that adjacent properties are not adversely affected and that no direct light is cast upon adjacent properties or roadways.

13) No use permitted shall exceed a noise level of 45 dBa, essentially the noise level of a residence, as measured at the property line.

14) Adequate refuse collection containers shall be provided.

15) Per proffered explanation of major and minor events and related times and events, the Special Use Permit shall be limited to that specific scheduling.

16) The Special Use Permit shall exclude any Motor Sports Racing Events.

17) Access to SR 34 West shall meet all applicable standards as required by the Georgia D.O.T.

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for April 17.