April 23, 2021

Encounter Ministries withdraws Special Use Application

The meeting room was packed for the Heard County Board of Commissioners Meeting Tuesday night in Franklin

(Franklin, GA) — In a stunning turn of events, Encounter Ministries withdrew their Special Use Application Tuesday night prior to a scheduled Public Hearing at the Heard County Board of Commissioners January meeting.

A standing-room only crowd was on hand for the hearing at the Heard County Administration Building located at 201 Park Avenue in Franklin.

The faith-based group had proposed to build a church, petting zoo, and lodge on its 90-acre tract of land located at 1400 Notnomis Road just outside the Town of Centralhatchee.

Frank Jenkins, an attorney representing the group, gave a short statement to the Board of Commissioners prior to the start of the hearing.

“I wish to tell you tonight that Encounter Ministries does not believe it’s within the spirit of their Christian faith to engage in this contest for permission to have their Christian church in this county. Therefore I am authorized to withdraw the application tonight,” said Jenkins.

Given the withdrawal of the application, the Public Hearing and agenda item regarding the discussion of the application by the board were both cancelled. A long list of residents had signed up to speak at the hearing.

Heard County Chairman Lee Boone was obviously surprised by the move to withdraw the application, exclaiming after the meeting, “I didn’t see that coming!”

In other county business, HCWA Chairman James Ray Gosdin was reappointed to the water authority board.

All other county positions were reappointed for 2020 as well including County Clerk Patty Jiles, Deputy County Clerk Hope Cole, County Attorney Jerry Ann Conner, and County Auditor Kim Kimmel.

The board appointed District 4 Commissioner Larry Hammond as the Vice-Chairman for 2020.

There were no public comments or other business conducted. February’s meeting is scheduled for February 20 at 6:30 PM.


  1. People in Heard County cease to amaze me. First of all I want to say these people never had a chance in hell to have this facility approved regardless of how they went about proposing how it would be operated. Rest assured if any of their buddies wanted to do something to this affect there would not be any objections toward a facility of this magnitude but yet they all call themselves Christians,children of GOD. If the entire meeting was going to be about not allowing a new church in the county that helps people or was it the concern of outsiders coming into Heard County. Believe me no one here in Heard County is any better than the next person when all is said and done all that opposed this or was at the meeting to oppose lets look at what you have said and done along the way. Just my opinion when you have so msny people against giving people a chance unless you are in their circle. Amazing Heard County.Peace be upon him.

    • I was in that crowd. I own property bordering the proposed property. I did not want a petting zoo, event center, and “special housing” in my back yard. Neither did my Nieghbor’s so it seems. The church itself would have been find. You amaze easy.

  2. I understand that you have property and so do I.But I will bet it wasn’t all about the petting zoo it was what the church was standing for which is second chances something you may not understand. Heard County never changes that is what’s so amazing not only the community but you haven’t either Ryan you are still the little boy that cried wolf. PBUH

    • Ryan “Big Boy” says

      Wow you seem angry! Does everybody have to see eye to eye on this issue? That will never happen. Some people want to live quietly in the country and some don’t. They should seek a place more suitable for their needs and won’t require special permits. Thanks for your insults and have a great day!

  3. Not angry, Ryan I just expect our County to be better than this. These people didn’t have a chance you know it and so do I. Why not invite them back with a new proposal instead of shutting them out completely. Maybe they can take the petting zoo off. Ryan you have a great day and peace be upon you.

  4. Where do you suggest I go when I am a US citizen and a born in Heard County. Now tell me where i should go?

  5. I’m very happy where I live. I would like to know where you suggest i look because I own mines I work everyday for what I have. I asked you for suggestions where I should look maybe I will ask Encounter Ministries to sell me the land they have that way you snd I can be neighbors. Peace be upon him.

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