Fort Oglethorpe hires firm to sort out zon­ing poli­cies

The Catoosa County News - - FRONT PAGE - By Adam Cook [email protected]

The city of Fort Oglethorpe has agreed to terms with a con­sult­ing firm to help it re­vamp its zon­ing poli­cies.

Dur­ing a re­cent City Coun­cil meet­ing, City Man­ager Jen­nifer PayneSimp­kins ex­plained that the city’s zon­ing or­di­nance has been out of whack for awhile.

“Our zon­ing code is out­dated and im­prac­ti­cal,” she said.

Payne-simp­kins added that she and Build­ing/plan­ning and Zon­ing Di­rec­tor Rick Quar­les have eval­u­ated the pol­icy over that past few months and high­lighted some prob­lem ar­eas.

“This is im­por­tant to us,” PayneSimp­kins said. “Appendix A of our code of or­di­nances es­tab­lishes much of the pol­icy. How­ever, chap­ters 10, 14, 18, 34, 42, 54, 62, 66, 74, 78, 86 and 90 all in­clude poli­cies that af­fect zon­ing, and some of them are con­tra­dic­tory.”

Payne-simp­kins pro­posed a con­tract with Hatley Con­sult­ing to help sort out the is­sues and help the city get the zon­ing ironed out.

“This is a rec­om­men­da­tion to ap­prove the pur­chase of pro­fes­sional ser­vices to re­view and up­date our zon­ing pol­icy with Hatley Con­sult­ing in the amount of $48,500,” Payne-simp­kins said. “We be­lieve that the $48,000 that we’re re­quest­ing to spend to up­date our zon­ing pol­icy and con­sol­i­date all those chap­ters in Appendix A into a uni­fied de­vel­op­ment code will be a great use of pub­lic re­sources and will help us form our pol­icy around our needs for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.”

Be­fore call­ing for a vote, Mayor Earl Gray com­mended the work done by Payne-simp­kins and city staff.

“I just want to add a lit­tle some­thing. I don’t know if our coun­cil re­mem­bers or not, but this same pro­posal was put to us about six months ago, and at that time the

price was about $156,000 or $158,000 if I re­mem­ber cor­rectly,” Gray said. “Ms. Simp­kins and Mr. Quar­les have been work­ing on this thing dili­gently and did most of the hard work. They were able to go back and rene­go­ti­ate this thing with all the ma­te­rial they came up with and got it down to $48,000.”

The board unan­i­mously ap­proved the con­tract, and Gray stressed the im­por­tance of hav­ing the or­di­nances in line as the city con­tin­ues to grow. “This is a pretty im­por­tant thing for this city,” Gray said. “It’s prob-

ably some­thing that should have been done years ago, but it’s some­thing we def­i­nitely need. I just wanted to say hats off to Ms. Simp­kins and Mr. Quar­les for get­ting this fig­ured down to a doable fig­ure.”

Although $48,000 is a pretty hefty sum, Coun­cil­man Jim Childs said that it’s bet­ter to spend some money now to pro­tect the city’s fu­ture. “Our codes are all over the board, as she (Payne-simp­kins) said, and this could save us a lot of money in the fu­ture legally,” Childs said.

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