The Columbia County Planning Commission voted on Thursday to recommend two ordinance revisions meant to alter parking requirements and enhance landscaping within new commercial developments.
For the past two months, the planning staff has worked on revising the parking and landscaping codes to limit the amount of asphalt used in shopping centers and encourage more aesthetic designs.
"We are trying to do this to encourage commercial buildings to be configured more creatively and to discourage a strip-center type of design," said Planning Manager Nayna Mistry.
In the revised landscaping ordinance, wider landscape strips would be required between a parking lot and the road it fronts. The changes also promote parking around buildings -- not just in front of a store.
In addition, the width of landscaped islands in parking lots would increase from 8 feet to 10 feet, and a variety of trees and shrubs is encouraged in new developments.
Changes to the parking code would require developers to follow a standard regarding the number of parking spaces and permit pervious surfaces in parking lots to reduce the amount of asphalt.
"I think it's going to be a good addition," Planning Commissioner Gary Richardson said.
Before the changes are adopted, county commissioners must hold two readings on them.
Also at the meeting, Mistry announced plans to recognize commercial developers and business owners through the Community Pride Design Awards.
County residents are invited to participate by choosing their three favorite designs from 23 nonresidential buildings completed in 2009-10.
The survey can be accessed Nov. 1-15 on the county's Web site, www.columbia countyga.gov.
The winners will receive an award at a December county commission meeting.
In other planning business on Thursday, final plats for Briarcliff off South Old Belair Road, Savannah Pines off Linda McCurdy Road and four sections of Hidden Creek off Baker Place Road were approved.
Planning commissioners also gave preliminary plat approval for Phase One of Collins Grove near Collins Drive.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.