Thomasville plans to improve city departments - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomasville plans to improve city departments

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April 23, 2007

Thomasville-- Building a home or a business is always hard work.  But some Thomasville business owners say in the past the planning, zoning and building department have brought added hassles, making the process even more challenging. 

"They have a difficult job but it seems like they have a little trouble making a quick decision. There's a lot of overlapping regulations and everyone seems to be confused," says President of the Business Action Council, Monty Lewis.

"There have been some complaints, and its simply because in the past they let people slide, they decided there was a gray area, but there's not with laws," explains city councilman, Roy Campbell.

If that was they case, the attempt to correct it may have been taken to an extreme.  Lewis say, "the pendulum has probably swung a little too far in the other direction, everyone seems to be a little too concerned by not letting anything slip by, with having extra levels of scrutiny and unfortunately extra scrutiny means time, and time is money when you're trying to build something."

For the last year, the Business Action Council, a group of local business owners have worked to try to rebalance the situation.  They were thrilled when Mayor David Lewis dropped by one of their weekly meetings.  "The mayor came by and said the council would like for us to play a role in taking a comprehensive look at those departments within the city," says Lewis.

The planning, zoning and building departments are the only city departments that were not overseen by the city council- until now.  The Mayor recently appointed councilmemebers Max Beverly and Roy Campbell to work with the department.

"We're not going in to try to change everything. We're just going to meet with them and see if we can streamline the process a little bit. Smooth out some of the wrinkles," says Campbell.

"Certainly all of us want to build quality buildings and do it in an aesthetically pleasing manner but we're not adversary's we all should be partners," says Lewis. The BAC and the council hope by working together it will make the process a little easier on everyone.

The Business Action Council is looking at examples of successful planning and zoning departments in other communities before making their recommendations to the city.

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