Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Franklin County commission holds first public hearing on building moratorium

 The Franklin County Commission will hold a final public hearing on September the 5th on a possible moratorium on all new development in the St. George Island commercial district while the county decides how they would like to see the area developed.

The commission held its first public hearing last week.

The moratorium cannot take effect until the second public hearing so at this time the county is operating under a “Zoning in Progress” Resolution which instructs county Planning and Zoning staff not to accept any new development applications for the St. George Island commercial district until the moratorium has been decided.

If approved the 6 month moratorium would impact new development between 3rd street east and 3rd street west on St. George Island.

The moratorium will give the county time to develop a St. George Island Corridor Zoning Overlay District which will better define the types of development that will be allowed in the commercial district.

There was plenty of public support for the move, most of whom felt that planning is needed to help protect the nature of the island and keep it attractive for residents and the thousands of visitors that come to the island every year.

Island resident Mason Bean said he hoped the county will use the opportunity to rewrite the c4 zoning rules which some people have used to build homes on commercial property.

There were some concerns raised that the county should allow maintenance work requiring a permit to continue during the moratorium.

Island business owners tend to wait till after the busy summer tourist season before doing maintenance to their buildings and they don't want to have to wait another year to get the work done.

The commission did agree to amend the wording a little to allow business owners to apply for permits for maintenance work during the moratorium period.