Stephens Co. Land Use Committee Appears Before Commission

The Stephens County Land Use Regulation Committee speaks to the Stephens County Commission.

Tuesday, the committee appeared before county commissioners to update them on their work.

The Land Use Regulation Committee has been meeting since September and includes individuals from many sectors of the community chosen by the county commission to look more closely at the issue of land use moving forward.

Committee member Cynthia Brown spoke on behalf of the committee Tuesday.

She said that something has become very clear to the committee through its work so far.

“We have been meeting for months,” said Brown. “We have heard from a lot of individuals and groups who have told us their experiences with zoning, land use, quality growth, whatever they called it in those communities and what we have realized is that there is not an answer and their answers are not necessarily our answers. There is no perfect plan.”

Brown said the committee was impressed with some ordinances already in place, but has concerns that current rules are not being enforced.

As a result, she said the committee’s initial recommendation is that Stephens County work to vigorously enforce ordinances that are already in place.

Brown cited manufactured home installation requirements.

“There are installation requirements that must be met in order to preserve public health and safety,” said Brown. “There are minimum health and safety standards that must be met in the manufactured (home) arena. There are standards that must be met in manufactured home parks. Land, space that is there, streets, access, lots and lots of issues, and they are outlined in our ordinances.”

She also pointed to the proper posting of E-911 addresses as another example of an ordinance that needs to be enforced more.

Brown went on to say that the committee also wants to see strict enforcement of violations in the court system.

“That means the court system has got to deal with violators and violations in a timely and concerted manner,” said Brown.

She said that the committee also wants to support the commissioners moving forward, adding they would like to help the county continue to look at its ordinances.

“As we move along with the enforcement of the existing ordinances, we find ways to either make them stronger, more effective, more efficient, or loosen ones that are not going to be important to the future of this community,” said Brown. “There is no point in having things on the books that do not work for this community.”

Commissioners, including Dean Scarborough, said they appreciate the work of the committee so far and its input.

“We need to know that the community is willing to give the attention to it because I will tell you that attention means money,” said Scarborough. “We have one person who has a part-time responsibility to enforcing ordinances and he has mobile homes, taxes, and that sort of stuff, so there are lots of things that need to be done and some of it will require extra funding from us, so we have to be bold enough to commit that funding for this cause.”

Stephens County Commission Chairman Stanley London also said he appreciates their efforts, adding the commission will take that recommendation into consideration as it moves ahead.