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The cost of growth

South Bryan’s booming residential growth hasn’t come without cost.

Roads are crowded and infrastructure lags despite efforts to keep pace. The demands on public safety agencies increase from year to year, with call volumes rising.

So do the demands placed on local governments, which can be caught in the middle between those who look to build and those who want to slow development.

Sometimes, not even efforts to decide the rules that govern how growth is managed are without controversy, or a potential for court battles.

One such example is Bryan County’s recently established interim unified development ordinance.

That drew fire from area home builders who said it would have a chilling effect on home sales.

The county has since compromised with builders to an extent as it works on the ordinance, promising to include developers and the public in the discussions.

That effort to develop a new UDO won’t come without a cost. The price tag is $97,702 for Michael Lauer Planning, LLC, to finish the ordinance by December 2019.

That total includes hundreds of hours of work and dozens of trips to Bryan County for Lauer, whose firm has worked on such projects around the U.S.

It’s an effort to get the thing right, according to Bryan County Administrator Ben Taylor.

“The modernization of our development ordinances is something the county takes very seriously and that can be seen by the dedication of resources towards it,” he said in an email. “It requires a lot public input and a great deal of research to write an development ordinance that compliments our community’s unique characteristics. The amount allocated to accomplish this is not beyond the norm of what other communities have spent to complete this same task.”

More on growth to come.

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