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Growth and Development

A land-use plan is an important tool for controlling future growth, but only if it is followed by the decision makers.  Prior to 2007, many of the decisions in re-zoning cases did not follow the land-use plan. The population of Cherokee County grew by 51.1% from the year 2000 to 2010.  That level of growth is not sustainable which is why our infrastructure, primarily our roads, do not meet the needs of the population.  As your next District 2 County Commissioner, I will continue to follow the county land-use plan as I have done as a member of the planning commission for almost 8 years. I will work to establish better working relationships with the cities.  I would like to see the cities and the county develop a shared vision for future growth that would be in the best interests of all residents here in Cherokee County.  The county had a growth boundary agreement with Woodstock, Ball Ground and Canton at one time.  I will work with the commissioners to re-establish growth boundaries with all the cities in Cherokee County to stop the land grabs into our rural areas.

My Plan for Responsible Growth:

Continue to follow the Land-Use Plan, as I have done for almost 8 years as a member of the planning commission.

Development Regulations – Make changes to encourage large lot developments.  We need to reduce the development regulations for rural neighborhoods with R-40, R-60, and R-80 zoning.

Development Regulations – Make changes to high-density developments.  We need to increase the development regulations for high density developments to stop the clear cutting and mass grading.  Our rolling topography is what makes our county unique, and it is disappearing with new developments.

Impact Fees – I firmly believe that new developments should bear the cost of the impact to the county to provide services to support the new development.  I would like to change how we impose impact fees.  Currently, we have one service area for the entire county.  State law allows the county to set up multiple services areas.  Each service area can be charged fees based on the real costs to provide the infrastructure/level of services needed to support new development in that area.  When new development is allowed to leap-frog into rural area that have minimal infrastructure, the cost to provide those services is far greater.  I would propose that we set up the areas based on the character areas in our land-use plan.

  Require donation of Right-of-Way property for new developments.  Many of our road improvement projects are delayed because the county cannot obtain the needed right-of-way or because the land values have increased substantially which increases the costs for the improvements.  Legally, we could require donations based on the County’s 20-year Transportation Plan.

Committee to Elect Richard Weatherby
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