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County development ordinance moving forward
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Progress on a permanent unified development ordinance continues to accelerate as the Bryan County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a service agreement with Michael Lauer Planning, LLC, at the county's November 13 commission meeting.

Lauer was the architect of a recently passed temporary development ordinance that set limits on construction methods and sought to streamline development services for residents in unincorporated Bryan County.

The recently passed temporary ordinance brought out the ire of many developers and builders in the county because, for example, it prohibits the use of vinyl siding, something the builders said was sure to increase their costs, and ultimately, the sales price of homes.

 Other issues in the temporary ordinance that raised concerns included specific setbacks for garages, number of roof lines and windowless walls.

The commissioners have said all along that local builders and developers will have additional input on the permanent document, which is scheduled for adoption no later than December 2019.     

The commissioners also agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding with Richmond Hill to accept the parameters for a new county library in south Bryan County.

 According to Bryan County Administrator Ben Taylor, the cost for the land off Town Centre Road is $461,774.36. Taylor recommended that the commissioners enter into the agreement and let him and city manager Chris Lovell work out any outstanding issues.

Taylor said the county was getting a "pad ready" site suitable for construction.

That includes resolving issues on water and sewer availability, how storm runoff will be handled, roads to the site and ensuring both governmental entities are on the same track.

"It's a great example of cooperation between the city and county," Commissioner Noah Covington said.

The vote to sign the memorandum of understanding was unanimous.

The county also approved a TSPLOST Bond Resolution and Intergovernmental agreement with the City of Richmond Hill that will allow the city to get started on some transportation projects. The tax bond was passed for $4,650,000 and will be used for transportation related projects.

 Other actions taken by the county included:

* Appointing Lisa Freeman and Kate Howard to the Bryan County Library Board of Trustees.

* Purchasing a 26-acre parcel from the Development Authority of Bryan County for $256,018.47 for a wastewater treatment spray field at the Interstate Centre Industrial Park. The county will receive a One Georgia Grant to offset the entire purchase price.

The implementation of an impact fee on future development was also addressed by the county commissioners. They authorized the inclusion of a capital improvement element into the county comprehensive plan that identifies the amount and projects to be partially paid for by the proposed fees.

That capital improvement element must by approved by the Coastal Regional Commission and Georgia Department of Community Affairs before the commissioners can vote and formally adopt the change. The impact fees could benefit in keeping certain functions, including parks and recreation, roads and the library appropriately funded to keep pace with the ever burgeoning county growth. The proposed change to the comprehensive plan passed unanimously. 

 Newly hired planning and zoning manager Amanda Clement presented two small rezoning actions for the commissioners to consider.

 In the first, a 1.71 acre tract at 8905 East Highway 280 was rezoned from agricultural to commercial so a small retail or commercial business could be situated there. Clement said the surrounding zoning was compatible with the request and the request was also in compliance with the comprehensive land use plan.

Commissioner Steve Myers made the motion to approve with the condition that no billboards be placed on the property. The motion passed unanimously.

The commissioners also passed a rezoning request from George Ruehling on a 6.66 acre parcel off Griffin Road by Belfast River Road from A-5, agricultural, to AR-2.5 so the property could be subdivided into two lots and an additional residence built upon the subdivided lot at some point in the future.

The only issue that the rezoning faced was that the subdivided lot would have access from a private road and the other lot from Griffin Road. The rezoning was approved unanimously conditioned upon getting an agreement from the private road owner for the new resident's use in the future.




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