Columbia County Commission approves monthlong rezoning moratorium

The Columbia County Com­mission on Tuesday approved a monthlong moratorium on nearly all rezonings.

Officials wanted the moratorium on nonresidential rezonings while they clean up language in ordinances regarding the uses allowed in some zoning districts.

Planning and Engineering Services Director Richard Harmon said that at present, someone could build a slaughterhouse or rock quarry in the Evans Town Center area. Obviously, he said, such
businesses don’t belong in that area.

The commission approved a first reading of ordinance changes to permitted uses. A second and final reading likely will win approval when the commission meets again July 17.

That also will be the date the moratorium ends.

Also at the meeting, the commission tentatively set new fees for several services offered by Planning and Engineering. The new fees primarily affect builders.

Fees include $150 for a final plat; $615 for a major revision to a planned unit development, general rezonings, variances and variations; $880 for some rezonings; and $10 to get a CD or DVD on zoning information.

It was the first time in more than 30 years that county officials revised such fees, Harmon said.

A final reading for the new fee schedule will be July 17. If approved, the new fees would take effect immediately.

In other meeting news, commission Chairman Ron Cross made his final selection for the new county Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors.

Cross picked CVB board veteran and banker Rick Crawford to fill the last seat. Fellow commissioners confirmed that selection.

Other members of the newly formed, seven-member board were chosen last month. They are hoteliers Surinderjit Singh and Ken Shah, real estate agent Laurie Vanover, restaurateur Aubrey Nesbitt, retiree Chris Noah and journalist Jennifer Miller.

The initial 12-member CVB board disbanded in April, but not before changing the bylaws to decrease the size to seven members appointed by the commission. Previously, CVB employees or the board recruited members.

Crawford, Singh, Shah, Vanover and Nesbitt all belonged to the previous board. Only Noah and Miller are new.

Members of the new board will serve until Dec. 31. The commissioncan then choose to reappoint them or find someone else.

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