Community Development Blog Archive.

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September Reminder Regarding Political Sign Placement
Posted Sept. 5, 2018
With yet another upcoming election season underway, the St. Marys Community Development office wishes to remind citizens of rules regarding placement of political signs.City of St. Marys City Sign Ordinance Rules Hosted by Municode  

“Sec. 46-140. – Exemptions .…. (10) Political signs when the sign area is 16 square feet or less. Signs must be placed on private property and are prohibited from the public right-of-way by state law. Such signs shall not be erected within the city right-of-way.”

Please also note that Georgia state law (§ 32-6-51) also prohibits the placement of any sign on city right-of-ways, including political signs. Any signs that are found to not be in compliance will be removed and held at the Community Development office for a period of 10 business days, after this period, the signs will be disposed of.

If you have any questions regarding legal placement, please feel free to contact a member of our planning or code enforcement staff at (912) 510-4032.

Notice Regarding Land Disturbance Activity (LDA) Permitting Requirements.
Posted:  August 23, 2018
The city of St. Marys will be holding a meeting on Monday August 27, 2018 at 10:00 in the Council Chambers at 418 Osborne Street to discuss with interested parties the requirements for Land Disturbance Activity Permitting. A link to the letter discussing this meeting in more detail by City Engineer, Chris Cox, can be found here.
A fact sheet is also included on our document center which discusses topics such as:
  • Who is required to obtain a Land Disturbing Activity (LDA) Permit?
  • What is a larger common development?
  • How does this this affect obtaining a building permit?
  • Where do I apply for a Land Distorubance Activity Permit?
  • What fees are required for a Land Disturbance Activity Permit?

Lastly, a revised LDA permit is available on our Document center, if you have questions, please contact Chris Cox at (912) 882-4415 or via e-mail at ccox@stmarysga.gov

Information Sheet Regarding Area Regulations for Residential & Commercial Zoning Districts
Posted August 17, 2018
An information sheet has been released to assist the public with our most common questions regarding lot sizes & setbacks.  A copy can be found in the community development section of the document center page on the city's front page. To allow easier search, future documents will be also posted in this section of the website.
If you have additional questions regarding zoning rules, setbacks, or area rules, please feel free to contact one of our planning staff displayed on this page.

Planning Commission Draft Approved for City Council
Posted July 20, 2018

The St. Marys Planning commission voted unanimously to recommend the draft Zoning Ordinance to the City Council.  A copy of the document approved for submission to the City Council can be found at this link.

Special Called Meeting of the Planning Commission
Posted July 16, 2018
On Thursday July 19, 2018, the St. Marys Planning Commission will hold a Special Called Meeting at 5:30PM in the Council Chambers, City Hall, 418 Osborne Street, to discuss and consider whether to recommend adoption of the proposed new Zoning Code and proposed new Zoning Map to the City Council including any proposed changes thereto. Due to the format of the meeting, the Planning Commission will not be accepting public comment at the July 11, 2018 meeting.   Should the Planning Commission and/or City Council decide to re-open public comment, the period for public comment will be appropriately advertised in advance. A copy of the most recent draft of the proposed zoning ordinance can be found hereLink to July 19th revised copy of ordinance. 

Special Called Meeting of the Planning Commission
Posted July 10, 2018; updated July 16, 2018 (edited to note ordinance version in link)
On Wednesday July 11, 2018, the Planning Commission will hold a Special Called Meeting at 5:30 PM in Council Chambers, City Hall, 418 Osborne Street, to discuss the proposed changes to the zoning ordinance. The purpose of the meeting is for Commissioners to discuss the proposed changes, make revisions, and continue to work towards considering a recommendation to City Council.Due to the format of the meeting, the Planning Commission will not be accepting public comment at the July 11, 2018 meeting. Should the Planning Commission and/or City Council decide to re-open public comment, the period for public comment will be appropriately advertised in advance. A copy of the most recent draft of the proposed zoning ordinance can be found here: Link to June 19th revised ordinance.  

Updated Revision of Proposed Zoning Ordinance 

Posted:  June 18, 2018

A revised draft of the Proposed Zoning Ordinance has been released.  These revisions reflect decisions by the Planning Commission partially based on a review of public comment. The following changes have been offered:

  • Changed Table 4 to stipulate per unit
  • Changed to 900 SF as Minimum Square Footage for Primary Residential Structure in most districts
  • Tabled Oversized Vehicle Parking & Overnight Parking
  • Tabled Outdoor Display & Storage
  • Changed most Interior Side Setbacks to 7.5 feet
  • Changed Table 1 to incorporate Current Districts
  • Clarified language in 7.01 Zoning, Building, Occupancy, Flood Prevention and Historic Preservation Compliance
  • Technical revisions of 8.01 Zoning Decisions, Defined and 8.03 Application Submission Requirements, Zoning Decisions
  • Added clarification to Minimum Required Parking Spaces in Table 6 of Section 6 Parking Standards
  • Added clarification to 1.07 Public Utilities by Right in Districts, for restrictions on placement of structures and vegetation in utility easements
  • Clarified language in Section 6 Parking Standards to address Handicapped Accessible Parking
  • Clarified definitions for Carports, Easements, Freshwater Marshes, Garages, both Commercial and Residential, Lighting
  • Terms, Nonconforming External Uses, Right-of Way (ROW), and Setback Terms, while striking the Saturated Color definition.
If you have any questions regarding the Proposed Zoning Ordinance or these changes, please contact our planning staff.
PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING RESCHEDULED
Posted:  June 18, 2018

The Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 19, 2018 (5:30 p.m.) in Council Chambers has been cancelled due to lack of quorum.  This meeting was initially going to be moved to the Ward Hernandez Building due to audio/video installation in Council Chambers. 

The meeting has been rescheduled for Friday June 29, 2018 at 5:30 PM in the Ward Hernandez Building.

PROPOSED ZONING ORDINANCE FACT SHEET
Posted:  June 14, 2018
A document has been released by the City of St. Marys, GA Community Development Department regarding the proposed zoning ordinance.  A copy of it can be downloaded at this link.  The proposed Ordinance would repeal the zoning portion of the City’s ordinances known as Chapter/Section110. The City of St Mary’s has multiple other ordinances that dictate standards for the City such as Subdivisions,Alcoholic Beverages, Buildings and Cemeteries, Courts, Fire Prevention, Floods, Historic Preservation, Utilities,Traffic, Vehicles, Zoning, Signs etc.  If you have further questions, please feel free to contact our Community Development staff for assistance  (contact information is displayed on the left of this page).    PROPOSED ZONING PUBLIC COMMENT DEADLINE Updated:  June 18th, 2018 As a reminder, the deadline for public comment regarding the proposed changes to the St. Marys Zoning Ordinance is 5PM on June 8th, 2018.  Details regarding this change, including a draft copy of the ordinance and a map displaying zoning changes are available on our proposed zoning ordinance page.   Please submit all comments regarding this to Morgan Granger at mgranger@stmarysga.gov.    A document of public comments is being compiled and is posted on our proposed zoning page.  CITY ZONING PAGE UPDATE Updated:  June 5, 2018  A new zoning tab & page and a proposed zoning tab & page have been added for the Community Development page.  A map displaying the current vs proposed zoning ordinance is displayed on the page as well.
Please submit public comment on the proposed zoning amendments to Morgan Granger at mgranger@stmarysga.gov Written public comment will close at 5:00 PM on Friday June 8, 2018. 

ZONING ORDINANCE DRAFT REVISION
Updated:  May 16, 2018
A revised draft copy of the proposed changes to the zoning ordinance has been released for public viewing prior to the upcoming Planning Commission events.    

The Planning Commission has held two recent work sessions and have offered the following changes:

  • Changing some of the Permitted residential uses in the Downtown Form-Based District to Special Use.
  • Altering most of the Dimensional Standards in the Downtown Form-Based District, including raising building heights by five feet to allow for change in measurement from ground, not BFE.
  • Changing the exception for Civic buildings to a Special Use Permit.
  • Striking all mentions of color standards.
  • Allowing Tiny Houses to be a Principle Structure in R-1, R-2, &R-3.
  • Permitting front-loaded garages to extend beyond front façade. Adding a clarification of Oversized Commercial Vehicle, to three axels or more.
  • Banning RVs from overnight stays, except for emergency temporary housing, and only allowing one unscrewed per residence.
  • -Striking language requiring Child Care Day Homes to screen playground equipment.
  • Allowing limited storage of noon-toxic, non-volatile materials as part of Home Occupation.
  • Altered language on Land Disturbance Permitting, to clarify what’s being disturbed.
  • Extended legal non-conforming rights.
Proposed Zoning Ordinance (May 24, 2018 version)

ZONING ORDINANCES CHANGES - PUBLIC NOTICES
Updated: May 7, 2018

Proposed Changes to the Zoning Ordinances on Thursday, May 10, 6:00 PM, 418 Osborne St., Council Chambers, St. Marys City Hall The City of St. Marys will hold a work session on the Proposed Amendments to the Zoning Ordinances on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 6:00 PM in the St. Marys Council Chambers, at St. Marys City Hall, 418 Osborne St., St. Marys, GA.  The purpose of the work session will be for the Planning Commission to review and discuss all aspects of the proposed zoning code and consider the adoption, modification, or removal of provisions within the code in preparation for the public hearings so that a final draft can be published on the website for review by members of the public prior to the first hearing date. 

Special Call Meeting - Planning Commission Regarding Proposed Changes to the Zoning Ordinances on Thursday, May 10, 7:30 PM, 418 Osborne St., Council Chambers, St. Marys City Hall The City of St. Marys will hold a work session on the Proposed Amendments to the Zoning Ordinances on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 7:30 PM in the St. Marys Council Chambers, at St. Marys City Hall, 418 Osborne St., St. Marys, GA.  The purpose of the work session will be for the Planning Commission to vote on the proposed changes as discussed during the work sessions of May 3 and May 10. This will provide the Community Development Department time to include these changes in the draft of the proposed zoning code and providing such revised document to the public prior to the Public Hearing of May 24 and May 26.

Public Hearing - Proposed Changes to the Zoning Ordinances on Thursday, May 24, 6:00 PM, 418 Osborne St., Council Chambers, St. Marys City Hall The City of St. Marys will hold a Public Hearing on the Proposed Amendments to the Zoning Ordinances on Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 6:00 PM in the St. Marys Council Chambers, at St. Marys City Hall, 418 Osborne St., St. Marys, GA.  The purpose of the work session will be for the Planning Commission to take written and oral public comment on the proposed changes to the zoning code.

Public Hearing - Proposed Changes to the Zoning Ordinances on Saturday, May 26, 10:00 AM, 418 Osborne St., Council Chambers, St. Marys City Hall The City of St. Marys will hold a Public Hearing on the Proposed Amendments to the Zoning Ordinances on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 10:00 AM in the St. Marys Council Chambers, at St. Marys City Hall, 418 Osborne St., St. Marys, GA.  The purpose of the work session will be for the Planning Commission to take written and oral public comment on the proposed changes to the zoning code.
Proposed Zoning Ordinance Draft (May 10, 2018 version - not current)

DRAFT COPY OF CAMDEN COUNTY JOINT COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
Posted April 20, 2018
In accordance with the requirements of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Camden County, the City of Kingsland, the City of St. Marys, and the City of Woodbine have produced a revised Joint Comprehensive Plan. The Joint Comprehensive Plan Update provides information regarding how the cities and county are today and how they intend to develop. The plan is intended to guide economic development,land use, transportation, housing, and quality of life. Contained within the document are descriptions of the character areas and future land use which indicate how the county and three cities intend to preserve the built and natural environments while encouraging sustainable growth.
April 20, 2018, Draft Camden County Joint Comprehensive Plan DRAFT COPY OF CAMDEN COUNTY JOINT COMPREHENSIVE PLAN Posted April 2, 2018 In accordance with the requirements of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Camden County, the City of Kingsland, the City of St. Marys, and the City of Woodbine have produced a revised Joint Comprehensive Plan. The Joint Comprehensive Plan Update provides information regarding how the cities and county are today and how they intend to develop. The plan is intended to guide economic development,land use, transportation, housing, and quality of life. Contained within the document are descriptions of the character areas and future land use which indicate how the county and three cities intend to preserve the built and natural environments while encouraging sustainable growth.
April 2018, Draft Camden County Joint Comprehensive Plan Reminder regarding political sign placement. Posted March 28, 2018 With the upcoming election season underway, the St. Marys Community Development office wishes to remind citizens of rules regarding placement of political signs.  City of St. Marys City Sign Ordinance Rules Hosted by Municode “Sec. 46-140. – Exemptions .…. (10) Political signs when the sign area is 16 square feet or less. Signs must be placed on private property and are prohibited from the public right-of-way by state law. Such signs shall not be erected within the city right-of-way.”
Please also note that Georgia state law (§ 32-6-51) also prohibits the placement of any sign on city right-of-ways, including political signs. Any signs that are found to not be in compliance will be removed and held at the Community Development office for a period of 10 business days, after this period, the signs will be disposed of. If you have any questions regarding legal placement, please feel free to contact a member of our planning or code enforcement staff at (912) 510-4032.

PLANNING COMMISSION ZONING AMENDMENT WORK SESSIONS ON LATEST DRAFT

Post Edited April 2, 2018
The St. Marys Planning Commission will hold a series of Special Called Work Sessions, beginning Tuesday April 3rd, at 6PM, in Council Chambers at City Hall (MEETING CANCELED), to discuss the latest draft of the zoning amendment ordinance. The latest draft can be found here and includes the changes recommended to the October draft during the Planning Commission work session prior to their recommendation of denial. The Planning Commission has scheduled a second work session following their regularly scheduled monthly meeting, Tuesday April 17th at 6PM. APRIL 17th ZONING CHANGES DRAFT

CITY COUNCIL HOLDS WORK SESSION ON ZONING AMENDMENT

On Monday, March 5th, the Mayor and Council held a work session on the proposed zoning ordinance amendments, recommended for denial by the Planning Commission, at their November 9th meeting. Community Development Director, Jeff Adams, presented a review of the process that led to the decision and proposed next steps for the Council. At the evening's Regularly Scheduled Council Meeting, the Council voted unanimously to send the zoning ordinance amendments back to the Planning Commission for redrafting and reconsideration.The Council Work Session Presentation can be found here. OCTOBER 10TH, 2017, ZONING TEXT AMENDMENT ORDINANCE  OCTOBER 12TH, 2017, ZONING MAP

Master Plan & Short-Term Work Program Adopted
For those who missed it, the Master Plan and Short Term Work Program was adopted by the City Council on December 4th, 2017.

Planning 101 Presentation Now Available
You may now access the Planning 101 presentation that was given by Community Development Director/Planning Commission Secretary Jeff Adams at the January 16th, 2018 Regular Planning Commission Meeting. It can viewed simply by clicking this link.
St. Marys Marine Center Plans Continue to Develop
Marine Center
James Coughlin, Executive Director of the Joint Development Authority of Camden County, spoke before the St. Marys City Council, at a work session on the St. Marys Marine Center. The St. Marys Marine Center is projected for the fifty acres on the south-end of the old Mill Site area, abutting Meeting Street and the Meeting Street boat ramp. The Marine Center will be a coastal regional draw for boaters and the boating industry. 
Mr. Coughlin’s presentation can be found here and the Community Improvement District(CID) documents(CID Act, CID Proposed Boundary & CID By-Laws), which the City approved last night at Council Meeting can be found here. The CID would provide the Marine Center with the ability to tax itself to provide for infrastructural improvements and create a multi-use commercial/industrial and residential facility to serve the Georgia Coast. 
For more information on the project contact the Camden County Joint Development Authority.
St. Marys 2018-2027 Short Term Work Plan Adopted
The City of St. Marys adopted its 2018-2027 Short Term Work Program  (STWP) in compliance with Georgia’s Department of Community Affair’s guidelines, to provide direction for on-going and future projects for the City of St. Marys. The City Council reviewed the STWP at a series of work sessions and finalized adoption last night, in Council Chambers. The Council specified a quarterly update process, prior to the Quarterly Town Hall Meetings, for providing a transparent process for review and project management. The STWP will work cooperatively with the City’s Capital Improvement Planning and Budgeting Process.
St. Marys Master Plan Adopted
One St. Marys The St. Marys City Council unanimously approved and adopted the One St. Marys Master Plan at its regular meeting last night in Council Chambers. The two year process brings the City of St. Marys its first citywide Master Plan, with associated plans ranging from Transportation to the Sea Rise Resiliency Report. Many, many, hours were given towards this citizen-led initiative, from the great group of Steering Committee members. Staff would like to congratulate and thank, one last time, Michael Rich, Joseph Antao, William DeLoughy, Tanya Glazebrook, Joseph Holler, Fred Mercier, Elaine Powierski, Steve Howard, Eric Landon, Kenneth Lyons, Lee Walker and Jon Preble for all their hard work on making this such a success. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read the plan please have a read and let us know your thoughts.



Resiliency and St. Marys STEM Hurricane Matthew Radar Loop
The Camden County- City of St. Marys Community Rating System Joint Program for Public Information(CRS PPI) received national attention for its continuing work with St. Marys Middle School’s innovative Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics(STEM) program. The story focuses on how the St. Marys STEM program and CRS PPI partnership furthers the region’s resiliency through education and collaboration. The author, Nancy Averett, chose last year’s brush with Hurricane Matthew, to show how these partnerships can help build resiliency through utilizing these extreme events as teaching moments and planning exercises. Averett’s story, which can be found here, is backed by the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, a website designed to help people find and use tools, information, and subject matter expertise to build climate resilience. The Toolkit offers information from all across the U.S. federal government in one easy-to-use location.
This successful partnership is in large part due to the amazing support provided by Madeleine Russell, of UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, Scott Brazell, of Camden County and Lori O’Brien, of St. Marys Middle School.