Zoning Board to review new draft - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Zoning Board to review new draft

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March 16, 2004

Sasser-- A proposed zoning ordinance that would have required permits for almost all gatherings in Terrell County enraged residents last fall.

Even a family reunion could have required an expensive engineer-designed site plan, besides a $50.00 permit.

The Zoning Board got the message--and a new, less restrictive, draft is complete. But, one business owner still says a permit is not necessary.

The Sasser Flea Market is quiet--in a month, it will be packed.

Owner Dee West says,  "For the three days we are hoping to have around 25,000 people in attendance. The population of Terrell County is only 10,000."

Visitors to the Sasser Flea Festival in April will buy lots of trinkets and bring lots of money to Terrell County.

First, though, under the proposed special outdoor events ordinance, the Flea Market would need to get a permit issued by the zoning board.

But, owner Dee West says if it's not one thing, it's another, "It's very possible because it seems everytime we try to do something they create a new zoning ordinance to effect us."

"The county commissioners, this office, nor the zoning board want to ever deter any business or anyone from spending money in Terrell County."  Zoning Administrator Martha Ann Coe says sometimes the need for an ordinance isn't realized until something happens.

"Several years ago we wrote a 40-page adult entertainment ordinance and it was on the heels of Stagecoach operating in Albany, Georgia. You just have to work with what the growth in your county is."

According to Coe, the special outdoor events ordinance was created not to target any business, but to control growth in Terrell County.

The Chamber of Commerce Executive Director supports the newest draft.  Linda Stift says, "This is taking care of the businesses without interfering with private citizens having things on their property so I am very pleased with the final draft."

But, it's to be seen if the County Commission, which shot down the last draft, will approve the new one.

The Zoning Board will review the draft at their meeting March 30.  If approved, the County Commission will vote on it April 7.

The draft allows people to apply for permits up to 15 months before the event rather than the earlier proposed 30 days. It also more clearly defines special outdoor events, stating that private parties, church and school events, do not need a permit.

It also allows for a hand-drawn site plan, rather than a costly one designed by an engineer.

Posted at 3:44 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com