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The Walker County Planning Commission denied a property owner's effort to launch a high-end camping business in Flintstone, Georgia.

The commission voted unanimously last week to block Bryan Johnson's request to rezone 16 acres at the corner of South Burnt Mill Road and North Highway 341. About a dozen residents in the area opposed the concept during the commission's meeting.

Leon Babb, who bought a home south of Johnson's property in 2006, said he and his wife, Carolyn, moved to the area because it is quiet. He doesn't want a collection of strangers coming and going.

"You're going to have people up there who are going to party," Babb said. "And they're going to want to party. And they want to party hard. I don't want to live up there among a bunch of drinking and drunks."

Erica Williams also criticized the plan. She told the commission she fears campers walking onto her property. She also believes some will bring animals.

"We're going to have to walk around on our own property with our guard up at all times," she said.

Before the vote, Planning Commission Chairman Phillip Cantrell said placing a commercial zone in the middle of a ring of residential properties would constitute spot zoning. He said Johnson could not operate and rent out a large-scale camping business without zoning the property as commercial.

Johnson bought the property at 2905 Chattanooga Valley Road in October for $180,000. He said he wanted to install 12 yurts on the land, with each one surrounded at least by one acre of open space. Each yurt would include a bed and fireplace, and he planned to also install bath houses.

He planned to advertise the property on Airbnb for $130 during busy seasons, such as weekends of Ironman triathalons. He planned to charge $90 at other times, arguing that the higher price and Airbnb's review of tenants would allow him to screen out people who would cause problems on the property.

"I want more of a high-end glamping feel, where people can come out and enjoy the stars," he said. "The sunsets are amazing out there."

After the meeting, some residents in the area told him they are not against his concept — just not in their backyards. Even with last week's vote, Johnson's request will go before Commissioner Shannon Whitfield on Thursday for a final decision.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.

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