Are forums on zoning in Grady County’s future?
By Neil Fleckenstein, Land Conservancy Planning Coordinator
Zoning has been a controversial issue in Grady County for quite some time. There are many reasons why the county should adopt a locally-developed zoning code. The lack of a comprehensive zoning code opened the door for the proliferation of motocross tracks, which many homeowners say are incompatible with residential development and the enjoyment of a peaceful, rural lifestyle.
In addition, the county’s leading economic development official has noted that many businesses and industries will choose to avoid Grady County due to the lack of zoning. Brian Marlowe, Joint Development Authority Executive Director, stated that companies want the certainty provided by zoning. Tall Timbers’ planning staff have found this to be true as well.
Meanwhile, from a land use and conservation perspective, zoning is one of the most basic planning tools that can help guide growth to areas where it is most appropriate and protect rural areas from poorly located sprawling development. Fiscally speaking, zoning can help a community guide growth in order to efficiently provide costly infrastructure and services.
The Grady County Board of Commissioners is considering holding a series of forums to provide information about zoning to the public and to answer residents’ questions and respond to concerns. Tall Timbers encourages local land owners to attend these forums and support the development of a comprehensive zoning code for Grady County. With the Georgia Office of Planning and Budgeting projecting the county will add nearly 10,000 new residents in the next 20 years, the time is now for Grady County to begin planning for its future.