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County approves new plats; talks home-based businesses
Bryan County seal 2016

The Bryan County Board of Commissioners Wednesday night approved three projects for Waterways Township, including 179 new homes and a road.

Wednesday night’s meeting had been postponed from Sept. 12 due to Hurricane Irma.

The new plats include 28 lots at the end of Waterways Parkway South and 151 additional lots at the end of Belvedere Road. Both projects had previously been approved by the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission and are part of a planned unit development for all of Waterways Township approved several years ago by the county.

Commissioners also gave the OK to a new road within the PUD that developers say will eventually be called Scenic Parkway.

County Administrator Ben Taylor presented a first reading of a new ordinance that would combine the county’s home business and home occupation provisions.

The new ordinance would require that there be no separate entrance to the dwelling and hours of operation be limited to 7 a.m. to 8 .m. Deliveries would be limited to the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and only one non-resident employee would be allowed on the premises, along with no more than two clients at a time.

No outdoor activities or outdoor storage of materials or equipment related to the business would be allowed, and business conducted within the residence could not exceed 25 percent of the home’s floor area.

Prohibited home-bases businesses would include: animal clinics, grooming or boarding; barber shops and beauty parlors; dance studios; body piercing or tattoo services; hotels or motels; massage services; mortuaries; palm reading and fortune telling; restaurants and automotive repair.

Taylor said that specific home owners’ association covenants would take precedence over the county’s ordinance, but it would be up to the HOA to enforce them, even if the county were to issue the license.

Commissioners also asked Taylor to put together a list of options regarding the maintenance of privately owned dirt roads. The condition of those roads is a concern, officials said, particularly when it comes to access for public safety vehicles and school buses.

One option is to establish a special tax district for each road, which would require property owners to vote on.

Taylor also updated commissioners on the county’s post-Hurricane Irma efforts.

“We were pretty prepared ahead of time,” Taylor said, calling Irma a “mini-Matthew” in reference to last October’s Hurricane Matthew. “We had plenty of time to prepare and had people and equipment staged throughout the county ahead of time.”

Taylor noted that the county identified 318 debris piles in South Bryan that are in the process of being picked up, but only 10 such piles in North Bryan, calling it the “independent spirit of the north” and explaining that several people on the north end of the county cut up fallen trees to use in fire pits and fire places.

Taylor said Bryan County Emergency Services Chief Freddy Howell is talking with local churches to possibly establish one or more storm shelters around the county.

“We got a lot of calls from people before the storm asking where they should go,” Taylor said. “People especially who live in mobile homes need a safe haven, and we could use those shelters to make sure our personnel are safe and available.”

Commissioners are scheduled to meet next at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the county administration building in South Bryan.

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