Withdrawn but will return: subdivision in aquifer recharge zone near Little River, Lowndes County, GA @ LCC 2021-12-14

Update 2022-02-02: Sprawl in an aquifer recharge zone back on the Lowndes County Commission agenda 2022-02-08.

Update 2022-01-09: Cancelled: Lowndes County Commission Meetings 2022-01-10, so expect expect the contentious Miller Bridge Road subdivision that was withdrawn last time to be back with larger lot sizes at the January 24 and 25 Commission meetings.

The subdivision WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman spoke against at the November Planning Commission meeting was withdrawn before the December Lowndes County Commission meeting.

[Lowndes County Commission, Rezoning withdrawn temporarily, Aquifer recharge zone]
Lowndes County Commission, Rezoning withdrawn temporarily, Aquifer recharge zone

But the withdrawal letter said they would be back with a new plan by January 5th. The subject property near the Little River is still in an aquifer recharge zone, and far outside any appropriate Character Area in the Comprehensive Plan.

[VALORGIS: Aquifer recharge zone]
VALORGIS: Aquifer recharge zone

The resubmission letter said it would be for R-A, which has bigger lot sizes than the former R-10 proposal. This fits with Planning Commissioner Franklin Bailey’s repeated suggestion of 2.5-acre lots instead of 1-acre lots.

[Withdrawal letter]
Withdrawal letter

It also follows the precedent of the property at 5999 Val Del Road proposed back in December 2018 to have an average of 1.66 acres per house as R-1 zoning. The Lowndes County Commission changed it to 2.5 acres and unanimously approved the rezoning to R-A. Those developers never built anything there because they said they couldn’t make any money at that lot size.

Different developers proposed in October 2021 to rezone the same property back to R-1, with 1-acre lots, and the Commissioners approved that 3:2, despite the Planning Commission recommendation to deny, staff recommendation to deny, and a thousand petition signatures asking for denial. So there will very likely be 1-acre lots in the middle of an agricultural area, far outsize of any appropriate character area in the Comprehensive Plan.

This December, for the Miller Bridge Road rezoning, county staff came up with a precedent of 3-acre lots approved in 1999 slightly farther south on Miller Bridge Road. Almost none of those lots have sold in the two decades since, so why is there any need for more lots that far out in the county?

Staff also received a petition from hundreds in opposition to this new Miller Bridge rezoning. At the Work Session, County Commissioner Demarcus Marshall noted that petition was not in the board packet. County Planner JD. Dillard said he “just took … out of this packet for now”. County Chairman Bill Slaughter said Commissioners would have it before they voted the next evening. He did not say the public would get to see it.

Retrieved via an open records request from Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), here is that petition.

It sure would be easier for everybody, staff, Commissioners, public, if Lowndes County would put its entire board packets online, like many smaller counties in Georgia and Florida have been doing for years.

Expect this sprawl rezoning to be back at the Lowndes County Commission’s next Work Session on January 10th, with voting Regular Session January 11th.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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One thought on “Withdrawn but will return: subdivision in aquifer recharge zone near Little River, Lowndes County, GA @ LCC 2021-12-14

  1. Pingback: Miller Bridge Road subdivision withdrawn, Rocky Ford denied, Tourism reappointed @ LCC 2021-12-14 | On the LAKE front

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