Land Use Regulation Committee Holds Meeting

Members of the Land Use Regulation Committee look at a county map and other information during Monday’s meeting

Stephens County’s Land Use Regulation Committee is getting its work underway on designing a proposed land use plan for consideration by the county commission.

The committee met Monday night at the historic Stephens County Courthouse in downtown Toccoa.

Monday’s meeting represented the first meeting since commissioners expanded the committee to 14 members and gave it the go-ahead to put a proposed plan together.

Committee members spent much of the meeting talking about the general topic of land use, as well as reasons for implementing land use and concerns people have about it.

Most of the committee members say the goal is to write and create as simple of a plan as possible that will meet the county’s needs.

A number of committee members say the plan needs to protect what is here, while putting in some controls over what could come in the future. Meanwhile, others say they have concerns about what any limitations would mean for someone wanting to sell their property to someone who might want to change how the property is used. In addition, other committee members say agricultural interests need to be protected, noting the importance of agriculture to the county’s economy.

The committee agreed to meet twice a month to move forward with working towards putting a specific proposal on the table.

Committee spokesperson Cynthia Brown said that the committee will start looking at more specific ideas at its next meeting.

“When we get together on April 16, we will start to look at the various sectors of the community,” said Brown. “We will begin with the residential parts. What covenants mean, what setbacks mean, how we can be good neighbors, and what it is going to take for people to get maximum use of their property and not infringe on their neighbors.”

The committee agreed that the goal would be to have a proposal put together in six months or less.