Subdivision ordinance talks continue in Macon

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

Macon County Planning Board members will continue their first discussion of a draft subdivision ordinance set to potentially include steep slope development regulations at a meeting held at 5 p.m. today (Wednesday, March 29) at the Environmental Resource Center.

Discussions will focus on the subdivision ordinance’s language and legalities on issues such as subdividing land amongst family members, minimum lot size and road design standards. Discussions are being continued from last week when planning board members took comments from the public during a well-attended meeting that seemed to pave the way for incorporating steep slope development regulations into the subdivision ordinance.

Macon County resident Bill Dyar lauded planning board members for their efforts to create a system of regulation, as he and a neighbor had been doing battle with a housing developing going in above their homes. The housing development had put up silt fencing, but the fencing didn’t hold come heavy rains. Consequently, Dyar’s backyard was filled with mud.

Dyar said he tried to work with the contractor building the development and the manager of the development company one-on-one, but the problem has yet to be solved.

“It just never was a very satisfying result,” Dyar said.

Having regulations beyond simple soil and erosion control that developers must follow to prevent their building from affecting neighboring homes would help protect individual homeowner’s property rights

“I hope we’ll either look at a slope ordinance or a runoff ordinance or the two things combined,” Dyar said.

However, resident Bill Van Horn recommended planning board members move “cautiously,” as every day there’s something going on somewhere in terms of building that people would disagree with.

Resident Marty Kimsey agreed, saying that he supported the enforcement of erosion control ordinances such as in Dyar’s case where mud from a development was infiltrating his property — a violation of erosion control ordinances.

Kimsey, who is in the construction industry, said that he did not entirely oppose more regulations affecting housing developments.

“I would ask that you go slow and go cautiously if you have to do a subdivision ordinance,” he said.

Over the years subdivisions have gotten better and that many of those who say they are attempting to help the county have ulterior motives to suppress capitalism, free enterprise, growth and progress, Kimsey said.

However, resident Chuck Coburn, a former chief engineering inspector in Florida, said that regulations are for the betterment of the community as a whole.

“You have to have some sort of control or everyone is adversely affected,” Coburn said.

Macon County officials on hand at the meeting agreed, saying that growth is a community-wide issue that must be dealt with now. Jack Morgan said that the week prior he’d had four developers from Atlanta come into his office to hear first hand that Macon County had no subdivision regulations.

“I could practically see one of them drooling,” Morgan said.

The developer went out and bought and 87 acre lot that day.

“Me, just like any old mountain man, doesn’t want to be told what to do,” Morgan said. “But we’ve got to establish some sort of guidelines for the people who don’t care.”

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