COVINGTON — Axe throwing is coming to the Covington Square. By a 4-2 vote at their July 6 meeting, the Covington City Council approved a Special Use Permit (SUP) for an axe throwing amusement/entertainment business at 1113 Church St., the former location of Blair on the Square Boutique. The action came at the council’s July 6 meeting.
The applicant was Jennifer Hartman. Her co-owners are Amber and Joshua Foster, who are also co-owners of the Boost Trampoline Park located on U.S. Highway 278 in Covington.
Axe throwing is an indoor recreational activity and consists of patrons throwing axes at targets, similar to darts. The throwing takes place in a designated lane similar to a bowling lane. Axes range between 12-18 inches long, are usually a single blade, and targets are usually 13-16 feet away.
Similar axe throwing businesses are located in Atlanta, Athens, Rome, Monroe, Macon and other cities in Georgia, and most are operated under guidelines of the World Axe Throwing League.
The proposed business location has been vacant for about two years and will accommodate 46 people, including four staff, 12 seated tables, and five lanes, each of which can be used by six people at a time.
Mary Darby, Covington director of Planning and Zoning, advised the council that the property is zoned Town Center Mixed Use and that the proposed use is consistent with the future land use map commercial category.
At its June 26 meeting, the planning commission recommended approval of the SUP with eight conditions. Those conditions include two targets per lane with no more than one axe per target, the business must become a member of a nationally recognized urban axe throwing league, the fire marshal will determine the maximum number of occupants, waivers must be signed by patrons before they participate, a noise plan submitted, specific times and dates for operations, the business can’t open until all permits have been acquired, the SUP will expire automatically if the axe throwing business stops operations for 12 months, and any modifications to the SUP will go through the same application and review process.
Darby said staff also recommended approval.
There were no public comments for or against at the SUP public hearing.
Councilman Kenneth Morgan asked if the business will be only for members of the axe throwing league or open to the public.
Hartman replied that the axe throwing will be open to the public.
Fleeta Baggett asked if food and/or alcohol will be served at the business.
Darby stated the SUP does not currently allow food or alcohol at the business, but that a new restaurant, The Social Goat, is opening next door to the axe throwing business.
Hartman said their initial plan is to open the business and later expand to food service.
“Our long-term goal would be partner with The Social Goat restaurant next door, and eventually be able to serve food and drink at the same time,” she said. “That is what is common in other jurisdictions that have axe throwing. But whether or not we partner with them has nothing to do with whether or not we would put an axe throwing place there.”
Susie Keck made a motion to approve the SUP. Anthony Henderson seconded the motion, and the vote was 4-2 to approve the permit, with Morgan and Hawnethia Williams casting the dissenting votes.