In the wake of imposing new restrictions on a major Evans development, Columbia County commissioners Tuesday are likely to impose a moratorium on any new requests for apartment rezonings.
The moratorium is expected to last three months to a year while officials reword ordinances regulating apartment construction.
Commission Chairman Ron Cross said new ordinances will address density, design, parking and other elements.
"There were some real gaps in the present ordinances about those things and that there was no distinction between owner-occupied units, or condominiums, versus rental units, or apartments," he said.
As recently highlighted during debate concerning site plan revisions for Marshall Square, ordinances failed to address apartment limits for planned unit developments, Cross said.
"We want to address all of those things and get them current, so that we don't have any dispute, particularly in PUD requests," he said.
It was the Marshall Square situation that prompted the moratorium and ordinance re-examination.
Developers for the project on Evans Town Center Boulevard requested an apartment density greater than the 14 units per acre as allowed by county zoning ordinances for apartment zonings. Commissioners shot down that portion of the revisions during a May 5 meeting, and the developers have since suggested that they might abandon the project.
Cross said much of the confusion came from varied interpretations of the "multi-family" term.
The term was used in the initial 2004 Marshall Square plan. Cross said commissioners understood that to mean condominiums, while developers apparently meant apartments.
"We ... didn't check the fine points and it put us in an awkward situation with density and the fact that apartments were being proposed when, before, apartments were never mentioned," he said.
"That really brought to light how inadequate our ordinances were. We decided we had to address that and get it straightened out."
The commission meets at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Evans Government Center on Ronald Reagan Drive.
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