A plan to create a more aesthetic look at lots fronting Furys Ferry Road was sent back to the drawing board Thursday night for a little tweaking of its own.
Columbia County officials want to implement an overlay district for the Furys Ferry Road area that would prohibit metal exterior construction, among other things. Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, a business under construction on Furys Ferry Road, would meet the proposed district requirement in that it will have a brick exterior.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The plan, called a Corridor Protection Overlay District, proposed such things as restricting metal building construction, allowing only brick, stucco, stone, masonry or wood materials; no flat roofs on apartments or townhomes; and fences that must coordinate with the material of a new building's construction.
The proposed district was to span the entire length of Furys Ferry from the county line to the state line and affect 281 parcels that front the thoroughfare.
At Thursday's Columbia County Planning Commission meeting, a group of about 70 people showed up to oppose the plan as presented, saying it would make it difficult for them to replace things such as fences.
The group said it would make it hard for them to sell their homes and that some of the requirements weren't needed.
At one point, one resident of Furys Ferry even told planning commissioners that they shouldn't turn the county into a "Nazi state."
Planning commissioners told the crowd that variations could be granted to some, allowing them to stay nonconforming, and that existing constructions would be grandfathered in and would only have to deal with the new district guidelines if a major addition was added to a home or more than 75 percent of the home became destroyed.
Residents of Furys Ferry, however, said a possible variation wasn't a promise.
"I'm concerned this plan will become a bible," said Mike Graybill, a former county commissioner, who said he wasn't sure if he was in favor of the Furys Ferry plan. "Please be careful what rules you make. Let's don't let government be intrusive.
"We (government officials) need to be their (the public's) friend."
Others also said it could be costly for some to meet new guidelines.
Some had a problem with wood fences not being allowed, arguing that they are more aesthetic than vinyl fences.
In the end, planning commissioners agreed to spend more time looking at the district proposal and have the issue settled within the next 30 days.
Overlay district proposals for lots fronting Furys Ferry Road include:
- Building facades must be brick, stucco, stone, masonry or wood materials. No new metal buildings allowed.
- Flat roofs prohibited on apartments and townhomes.
- Overhead doors allowed only on rear or side of commercial or industrial buildings. Single-family homes are exempt.
- Fences must coordinate with the material of a new building's construction. Some exemptions could be made for industrial zones.
- Garbage containers, air-conditioning units and other mechanical equipment must be screened from view. Single-family homes are exempt.
- Loading areas and docks must be concealed from view of single-family homes.
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