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Zoning near airport could be changing
Commission looking to curb large developments
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       Bulloch County Commissioners hope to gain public input Tuesday during a town hall meeting regarding a proposed airport overlay ordinance.
      The proposed ordinance would protect the airport from encroaching development, said Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch.
      The proposal came from the Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport Committee after about two years' discussion, he said.  In the past few years, commissioners have turned down zoning conditional use request from land owners hoping to develop the property, fearing the development would create problems with the airport, he said.
Bulloch County Develop-mental Services Director Andy Welch sent letters to citizens owning property around the airport, which is located on U.S. 301 North.
      The letter read, in part: "Bulloch County is considering adopting an ordinance to protect the safety of those living near the Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport as well as ensure the long-term operation of the airport."
      The open house meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. inside the airport terminal, he said. The purpose of the meeting is to "discuss the impact of the proposed ordinance (which would) limit the height of structures surrounding the airport in order to protect air traffic."
      The ordinance would also place conditions on certain types of development, he said. "The proposed ordinance is an overlay district, meaning that it places conditions in addition to requirements of the county zoning ordinance."
      The proposed ordinance would prohibit reservoirs (water), solid waste landfills, and nursing homes in areas zoned Ag 5, R2, R3, R15, R25, R40 and R80, he said.
      Those limitations, as well as education and training facilities and hospitals would be prohibited in highway commercial zones and general commercial zones. Wastewater pre-treatment facilities would also be prohibited in light industrial zones, and all previously listed uses as well as transfer stations would be banned in heavy industrial zones, he said.
      Education and training facilities as well as water reservoirs would be banned from neighborhood commercial zones.
      Water reservoirs would also be prohibited in areas zoned for manufactured home parks and conservation preservation, Welch said.
       "I don't think (the ordinance) will get in the way of someone putting up a shed or a single family house," Couch said. "We've watered it down to the least restrictive possible."
      Bulloch County Commissioner Roy Thompson, who also serves on the airport committee, said the airport overlay ordinance will mainly affect development of property. "It gives the airport a voice in development around the airport."
      The ordinance should not adversely affect owners of smaller tracts of property, he said.
      "We're ready to let the public kick the tires before sending (the proposed ordinance) to planning and zoning," Couch said. "We may have to go back and rework it, and we want the public's input."
      Welch said the proposed ordinance can be reviewed online at www.bullochcounty.net/departments/documents/Airport Overlay.pdf.
      Welch welcomes questions and can be reached at (912) 764-6245 or by email at awelch@bullochcounty.net.

      Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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