The Fayette Citizen-News Page

Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Overlay for Hwy. 85 south, 54 east to be studied


Special architectural standards for Ga. Highway 54 west and other high-traffic corridors are doing such a good job of preserving a residential look that the idea should be expanded to other corridors, said county Commissioner A.G. VanLandingham.

VanLandingham's motion to direct the planning staff to develop similar zoning "overlay" zones on Ga. Highway 85 south and Hwy. 54 east was approved unanimously.

Commissioners also unanimously approved new regulations requiring that special conditions be met for self-storage facilities in commercial zoning categories. Previously, the storage units were allowed without conditions.

In another change aimed at addressing environmental concerns and spiffing up the look of the county, commissioners approved new rules limiting impervious surfaces buildings and pavement to 60 percent of a commercial or office property. Previously there was no limit.

Environmental concerns, especially those pertaining to storm water runoff, are increasingly becoming topics of discussion among county officials and staff.

New federal regulations are in place requiring that water running off parking lots and buildings be cleaned up before it is allowed to run into streams and lakes. Regulators also are ratcheting up their interest in protecting groundwater recharge areas from intense development.

Similar concerns brought resident Julie Matulia to county Planning Commission meetings recently to argue that the new regulations approved last week are too lenient.

Matulia, who had earlier attended county meetings to oppose plans for a self-storage facility on Hwy. 85 south, asked the planners to table the regulations and tighten them up, but planning commissioners said they can always do that later.

She sent a packet of information to the County Commission prior to its discussion last week, calling for close scrutiny of zoning laws aimed at encouraging more green space.

"I hope we will continue to monitor this and see if there are other improvements we can make in this area," said VanLandingham in response to Matulia's input.

Commissioner Herb Frady suggested appointing a committee to look into her concerns, but other commissioners didn't bite.

In another regulation-related matter, commissioners unanimously approved a change allowing developers to skip the site plan process if their plans meet a list of requirements, including the use of an existing building with no significant alterations.

The change will eliminate a bureaucratic hassle in situations where it's not needed, said zoning director Kathy Zeitler.

Commissioners praised Zeitler for the idea. "This benefits everyone concerned," said Commissioner Linda Wells. "We should streamline government whenever we can."

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