Did you know last night’s Planning Commission meeting included a public hearing about changes to the county’s Unified Land Development Code (ULDC) related to land disturbances and water quality? You wouldn’t have found out about that in the agenda, because it wasn’t posted anywhere you’d be likely to see it. (Where does GLPC post the one physical copy of the agenda required by law, anyway?) Supposedly it was advertised in the Valdosta Daily Times, but a search of Public Notices in Statewide Database of Public Notices from Georgia’s Legal Organ Newspapers for 1 June 2012 through 27 August 2012 finds nothing.
Here’s what the agenda item for the 27 August 2012 GLPC meeting (that we only know about because Gretchen went to that GLPC meeting and asked County Planner Jason Davenport) says:
From a procedural standpoint the amendment has been advertised in the Valdosta Daily Times to fulfill legal requirements. Beyond legal requirements staff has plans to post this agenda item and draft ULDC on the Lowndes County Website at http://www.lowndescounty.com/content.asp?pid=23&id=224. Regarding staff review of the amendments, the TRC recommended for their approval at their 08/16 regular meeting.
If you’d happened to look several levels deep on the Lowndes County website you would have found that undated announcement:
Please be advised that the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC) and the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners (LCBOC) intend to hold public hearings to consider text amendments to the Unified Land Development Code (ULDC). ULDC Text Amendment TXT-2012-01 primarily addresses the Land Disturbance portion of the ULDC (Appendix A). TXT-2012-01 also addresses the adoption of a version of the ULDC that removes underline and strikethrough editing on amendments previously approved by the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners (LCBOC). The proposed changes and additional background are available for downloading at the link below. Please be patient when accessing or downloading the file as it is approximately 6 MB. These amendments are scheduled to be considered by the GLPC for recommendation on August 27th at 5:30 pm and then by the LCBOC for a decision on September 11th at 5:30 pm. The Planning Commission meeting will be held at 325 West Savannah Avenue and the LCBOC meeting will be held in the County Commission Chamber at 327 North Ashley Street — 2nd Floor. For questions, comments, or concerns please either make plans to attend and comment at either public hearing, respond by e-mail, call (229) 671-2430, or visit the LCBOC Planning Office at 327 North Ashley Street — 2nd Floor between the hours of 8:00 am — 5:00 pm. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.Unified Land Development Code (ULDC) TXT-2012-01 GLPC Agenda Item Copy (pdf)
LAKE has archived a copy of that PDF file on the LAKE website in case it gets misplaced from the County’s website.
So you just missed the Planning Commission public hearing, and your only chance for a public hearing is 11 September 2012 at the Regular Meeting of the Lowndes County Commission. Unless of course they cancel that one too, like they cancelled the one today.
What is this ULDC amendment about? According to the agenda item:
ULDC Text Amendment TXT-2012-01 primarily addresses the Land Disturbance portion of the ULDC (Appendix A). TXT-2012-01 also addresses the adoption of a version of the ULDC that removes underline and strikethrough editing on amendments previously approved by the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners (LCBOC). Regarding the Land Disturbance Amendments, in 2011 the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) Watershed Protection Branch completed a review of the Land Disturbance portion of the ULDC (Also known as the Lowndes County Soil Erosion, Sedimentation and Pollution Control Ordinance). The Georgia EPD noted various minor changes that needed to be made in the ordinance. It is important to honor these changes because Lowndes County Engineering has been issued a Local Issuing Authority status for the review of Land Disturbance Permits, Issuance of Land Disturbance Permits, and Site Inspections. This Local Issuing Authority status primarily helps because if there were not a ‘Local Issuing Authority’ the various responsibilities would be handled in Atlanta instead of Lowndes County. Maintaining the Land Disturbance portion of the ULDC is a vital part of maintaining Local Issuing Authority status. The impacts of these amendments are anticipated to address EPD’s changes so that Lowndes County can maintain Local Issuing Authority status, remove various typographical errors in the appendix, and help solidify the intent of the appendix by clarifying the various cross references mentioned below. Regarding the Underline and Strikethrough Editing, the ULDC requires that amendments be presented in a strikethrough and underline format (10.02.07(B)(2)). Previously staff presented the amendments in this format as a part of the actual entire ULDC code to be adopted. With the adoption of these amendments staff is presenting the strikethrough and underline format as a part of the staff report so that, should these amendments be adopted, the amendments within the attached ULDC can be shown and published in a completed and edited format. An example of how this works may be seen by comparing the unedited and edited ULDC versions at the following website http://www.lowndescounty.com/content.asp?pid=23&id=224. The impacts of these amendments are anticipated to solidify a single edited version of the ULDC and provide for the removal of the underline and strikethrough language from previously approved amendments.
So it appears to be clerical work required by the state EPD. But how could you have known that? And how could you have known where the specific changes are so you could look to see if they matched that description?