Draft Stephens Co. Land Use Plan Ready to Go

The Stephens County Land Use Regulations Committee completes its work.

Committee Spokesperson Cynthia Brown said the committee has settled on a draft land use plan that will be given to the county commission for its consideration.

Brown said that the committee is excited to complete the mission it was given.

“The regulations are simple,” said Brown.  “They are easy to understand.  There are no hidden agendas.  They cover every aspect of business, industry, agricultural, and residential issues in the community.”

The committee met Tuesday and finished reviewing changes recommended by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and attorneys.

Brown said everyone on the committee had input into the proposal and while there was no formal vote taken, the committee is in agreement to send their plan forward.

“We have come to a consensus based on the people listening around the table, the input, and what we feel like the implications will be for the future,” said Brown.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the committee continued discussing the possible make up of a Planning Commission that would deal with the ordinance if it is approved and make rulings on issues brought forward by property owners in relation to the rules.

Brown said that the committee feels a five-member Planning Commission would be beneficial, but adds that could be changed.

“There is nothing magical about it (the number five), but we felt like that was enough,” said Brown.

With a draft plan now ready, Stephens County Administrator Phyllis Ayers has said that the public will have chances to sit down and look at the plan and how it will affect their property prior to the commission taking a final vote on whether or not to adopt it.

Brown said it is important to note that existing property owners whose property is proposed to be designated something other than its current use will not have to change simply because of the plan.

“Until the property changes hands, nothing will change,” said Brown.

She also noted that variances could be granted in the future by a Planning Commission, depending on the circumstances.

Overall, Brown said the committee feels the plan it is putting forward accomplishes the goal of protecting current and future property owners.

“This just gives us protection from certain elements that would perhaps be detrimental community,” said Brown.  “In order for someone to invest in StephensCounty, they have to know that their investment is protected.”

Ayers has said that action on the proposal is possible by the end of the first quarter of 2014.