Bryan County will now use new code violation prevention measures after it was found recently that 17 houses in the Watergrass subdivision were not in accordance with the terms of approval for the development.
According to a press release from the county, Bryan County’s Community Development Department, which oversees planning and zoning, recently observed that the elevation of 17 houses in the new planned unit development in South Bryan County did not meet a condition of the planned unit development approval by the Bryan County Board of Commissioners.
According to the approval, the homes in this development were supposed to be built on elevated concrete slabs for aesthetic purposes. The developer was made aware of this condition during the public hearing and vote on the rezoning application held for this property on Oct. 9, 2018.
Upon field review, it was found that the condition was not followed and the houses were not elevated as required.
“We are unsure as to why the builder did not comply with the condition and whether it was intentional or a misunderstanding. Staff is currently working with the developer and builder to ensure compliance of the condition going forward,” Community Development Director Audra Miller said in the press release.
The elevation required by the conditions was purely for aesthetic value, and not for safety concerns. The violation of the code will have no impact on the quality or sturdiness of the homes.
To prevent violations of zoning conditions of this nature from occurring in the future, the Community Development Department is phasing in a special new computer tracking system over the course of the next year, according to the press release. The technology will track projects as they move along, ensuring every facet of a development is up to code and on par with conditions issued as part of the permit approval process.
“Now that the staff is aware of it, we’re going to be more diligent and will force compliance of the conditions through our system,” Miller said. “This will help us make sure that codes are being followed. We’ll be reaching out to builders along the way and reminding them that you must comply with these conditions, or there will be a penalty.”
If issues of this nature are discovered again, now that prevention measures are in place, the builder would be notified and if needed, issued a “stop work order.” The company would be required to correct the violation before work on a structure could begin again.
The Watergrass community is in South Bryan County between the intersections of Belfast River/ Belfast Keller and Harris Trail/Belfast River. Ultimately, it will contain 190 lots. Clearing and grading on the property began over a year ago, and the building permits were issued in the past few months, according to Miller.