Fort Oglethorpe hires firm to sort out zoning policies
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“Our zoning code is outdated and impractical,” she said.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.