Several years ago, Jeri Whitworth started attending Columbia County Planning Commission meetings and entered the baffling world of zoning definitions and regulations.
The Jones Creek resident, concerned that a Bi-Lo grocery store wanted to build at the intersection of Furys Ferry and Evans-to-Locks roads, found herself immersed in what she calls the alphabet soup of zoning terms - C-1, R-2, PUD.
"Over the years, we've always gone to these meetings, and after the meetings, we'd get out and people would talk among themselves and say 'But what what does C-1 mean?"' said Whitworth, who helped form the Coalition for CHANGE, a group of homeowners following development issues.
"When we formed CHANGE and we started talking about the kinds of things that we wanted to educate ourselves about that was the first thing. I want to understand what all these zonings mean."
To help decipher the rules, county officials will hold a seminar tonight to explain zoning designations, how the zoning process works and how zonings fit into the county's overall Growth Management Plan.
The discussion will be held in the Building A Auditorium at the Evans Government Complex on Ronald Reagan Drive and is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m.
Columbia County Planning Director Jeff Browning said that most residents do not pay attention to the zoning rules until it affects them directly.
"When it's in their backyard - people when thy're most touched is when it touches their property or it's in their neighborhood," he said.
He said he hopes the seminar will help people better understand the zoning process, including the roles of the Planning Division staff, the Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners.
"I would hope they would understand the connection or the relationship between zoning and the Growth Management Plan," he said.
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