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March 28, 2008

 
DON’T CUT YOUR TREE, IT AFFECTS MY VIEW

 Then came the real debate…!!!  - Gateway Corridors.  Gateway Corridors were defined as the Scenic By-ways. 

 
Many citizens have expressed dismay over the 3/5/08 Mobile Home/Modular Home discussions by the P&Z Committee.  The most recent P&Z Committee meeting on 3/12/08 seemed to bring out other problems that may affect your property rights.  The P&Z director has said in the past that P&Z is not about controlling your own property, but about controlling your neighbor’s property.

 One Citizen that attended, representing all those citizens that couldn’t or didn’t attend, provided the following information.

 The members present were Michelle Jackum, Tyson Harty, Dennis Hart and Nancy Wood.  Gail Folkert could not attend.  Zoning Director Chris Anderson and Consultant Don Broussard also attended. 

 The purpose of this meeting was to declare allowances and restrictions for each zone designated on the future land use map that was adopted in 2006.  According to the map the zones are as follows:

  1. Parks, Recreation, and  Conservation
  2. Fish Agriculture, Fishing, and Hunting
  3. Village
  4. Community Activity Centers
  5. Industrial
  6. Education, Administration, Healthcare, & Institutions
  7. Residential
  8. Commercial
  9. Gateway Corridors
  10. Ocmulgee River

As the meeting began, Broussard forewarned the committee that they would begin with the most controversial zones: Parks, Recreation, and Conservation (PRC) and Agriculture, Fishing, and Hunting (AFH).  The zones did prove to be quite controversial as Tyson Harty argued strongly against allowing RR in PRC while Michelle Jackum argued strongly in favor of allowing RR.  The issue of most concern is that RR provides for 3 Acre tracts allowable for building versus the 5 acre minimum in place at this time in Jasper County.  

While debating if allowing RR/ 3 acre tracts was fair in respect to land owners, it was stated that, “You can’t tell people what they can and cannot do with their land”, in reference to subdividing into 3 acre lots.  The Citizen reminded the members that the whole purpose of Zoning and the committee was to tell others what they can and cannot do with their property.

Tyson Harty debated that keeping AG, which allows only 5 acres or larger, would insure the unique agricultural feel of Jasper County.  After long debates it was decided that RR would be allowed near and around towns where infrastructure is available rather than inviting subdivision growth scattered throughout the county.  

The committee members agreed that PCR should be designated for parks and recreation such as Charlie Elliott and AG should be allowed (min. 5 acre tracts).  Most were in agreement that the Residential zone established on the Future Land Use Map was created with growth in mind and that it had already been created on a much larger scale that what exists today.  Therefore, all agreed to not extend that zone further. 

 The next four zones were easily decided upon: Village Plan, Community Activity Centers, Industrial, and Residential. Cell Towers/ Airports/ Power Generation Plants were not zoned on the Future Land Use Map; therefore, they should be considered as special exceptions.

 Then came the real debate…!!!  - Gateway Corridors.  Gateway Corridors were defined as the Scenic By-ways.  Two members argued in favor of restrictions being placed on all scenic by-ways as to removing trees, large set backs for buildings, etc… as to preserve the natural look along the by-ways.  The Citizen strongly opposed these suggestions!   The Consultant used the example that if he lived near the pecan orchard on Highway 11 north, he would not want anyone to be allowed to cut down those trees.  The Citizen argued that the land owner had the right, and it was an infringement of his personal rights to tell him otherwise. 

 Tyson Harty stated that if he purchased the land around or near the orchard for the reason that he liked the look of the orchard and some one bought the land and cut the trees it would devalue his property and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to cut them.   TWG comment:  Does Mr. Harty and the consultant want someone else to pay for the land, maintain the land, and pay taxes on the land for their “view”? 

 The Citizen reminded them that if the same owner planted the trees and later cut the trees, either was his right, and then asked if the owner placed a high fence around the property, what would be the difference.  Harty stated that there should then be an ordinance against placing the fence there.  The Citizen told Mr. Harty that Hitler had similar views and took away the rights of others; he said that was different because Hitler was a dictator.  (As if this type of control over an individual’s property isn’t dictating to that land owner?!)

 Chris Anderson at this time hit his gavel on the table and said, “We must move on.”  The Citizen demanded that no one could move on until something was decided.  Broussard agreed that they couldn’t move on without a resolution, but Chris Anderson said “Fine, you win, now move on.”  (A reminder here—Chris Anderson sits on the Scenic Byway Committee which has assured people they couldn’t restrict uses of their property.)  Before adjourning the meeting it was agreed that no restrictions would be placed on the Scenic Byway zone.  TWG Comment: If one citizen hadn’t attended, it is obvious that someone’s “Scenic View” would have taken preference over a land owner’s use of his own land.

 
The next Committee meeting is set for Wednesday, April 2, at 7PM at the annex.  
Those citizens concerned about Home Occupations restrictions and discussions should make plans to attend. 

From here on out, the meetings of this committee will get more intense as structure limitations and home occupations will be covered soon.  It is absolutely necessary that citizens attend!  If one citizen had not attended, three acre lots would have been permitted through out the entire county and severe restrictions would have been placed on private property with NO OPPOSITION!  The citizens of Jasper County cannot sit back and wait on someone else to fight the fight. 

Please view the following links:

Scenic Byways-Innocent Sounding Land Management
http://www.taxdogs.com/021708ScenicBW.htm

 
The Future Land Use Map referred to can be viewed at:
http://www.dca.state.ga.us/development/PlanningQualityGrowth/programs/downloads/plans/JasperCompJaFuLUMap.pdf

  

TWG
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