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Posted on: February 28, 2019

Unified Oconee County BOC and Mayors of Municipalities Oppose Legislation Limiting Local Control

Mayors of all four municipalities join county in opposition of House Bill 302, Senate Bill 172

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve a resolution opposing House Bill 302 and Senate Bill 172 at its Agenda Setting Meeting on Tuesday, February 26, 2019. The City of Watkinsville has also passed a resolution in opposition to this legislation, which severely limits the ability of local governments to enforce building standards for single or double family homes, with the mayors of Bishop, Bogart, and North High Shoals indicating that these municipalities will consider similar resolutions at upcoming meetings.

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners and the mayors of its four municipalities have come together in opposition to these bills in order to preserve the unique elements, community character, and distinct sense of place that each area possesses.

“This legislation seeks to take away local control of building design standards,” said Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman John Daniell. “Taking away our county’s ability to determine the look and feel of new development would make it impossible to fulfill our Comprehensive Development Plan, which represents our vision for the future of Oconee County. We do not want to lose our community’s unique character.”

“Watkinsville's origins from the late 1700's still maintain much of the culture, history, and character that make you and everyone else that passes through know that you live and work in Beautiful, Small Town Georgia,” said Watkinsville Mayor Dave Shearon. “Leave it to developers and large-scale builders and you could end up residing in Georgia, but actually living a life in Anywhere, U.S.A.”

“As local officials of the Town of Bogart, Georgia, we pride ourselves in developing a relationship with our citizens as we interact with them on a daily basis,” said Bogart Mayor Terri Glenn. “Concerns are shared, problems are solved, and decisions are made to ensure that the community we live in is valued and enjoyed to the fullest. In order to maintain the trust that has been established through years of citizen input and thoughtful planning, it is vital that the authority to regulate zoning and ordinances be kept in the hands of the people who know and value their community the best.”

“Although we understand the stated reasons for proposing this bill, we believe the power to regulate most things of this nature properly resides at the local level, where citizens have the most immediate and direct say in how their communities are governed,” said North High Shoals Mayor Toby Bradberry.

The signed resolution will be delivered to the Oconee County delegation in the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate.

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