Are citizens effectively informed by commission?
By Stephanie Johns
The Morgan County Planning Commission heard concerns about informing citizens of possible changes during its work session Dec. 14 and their regular meeting Dec. 20.
“We recognize the deficiency and plan to address it,” said Chairman Brian Lehman.
At the work session Commissioner John McMahon asked if members of the public were aware of a recent rezoning request that had come before the commission.
He noted that if they were aware of the request they could have come before them instead of going before the Madison City Council when the request went to that group.
At the regular planning meeting citizens showed up to speak either for or against two text amendments. One would allow event facilities in Madison while the other would prohibit multi-family housing in a Planned Residential District in the historic preservation overlay district of Madison.
During that meeting one citizen, Mike Conrads, said that this was the second time city staff brought forth a text amendment and did not notify the neighbors.
According to the 2011 Madison, Georgia Zoning Ordinance, notifying the neighbors is not a requirement.
The ordinance requires a public notice to be published in the Morgan County Citizen prior to a planning commission hearing and a city council zoning hearing. Also, the applicant must post on their property a sign provided by the city regarding the proposed zoning change.
The ordinance adds that “Such posting of the property is not required when the city enacts a new zoning map or initiates a text amendment.”
As to county notification requirements, Morgan County Planner Tara Cooner said the county follows the Zoning Procedures Law (ZPL), which is a state law.
That document provides notification requirements. For hearings on proposed zoning decisions the county must publish a notice in the Morgan County Citizen. Also, a sign must be posted on the property being rezoned.
To stay informed about Madison, readers may visit www.MadisonGA.com and click on the ‘Stay Informed’ button to the bottom right. Type your e-mail address into the box and click ‘Sign In.’ Then click on whichever of the notifications you would like to receive. Toward the bottom of the list under ‘Calendar’ are ‘City Calendar’ and ‘Mayor & Council,’ both of which provide details about upcoming meetings.
To stay informed about Morgan County, readers may visit www.MorganGA.org. To the left of the screen is a box labeled ‘Stay Informed,’ which includes headings to read about meetings, special events, and the county calendar.
Printed in the January 3, 2013 edition