The Bulloch County Zoning Moratorium Committee met for two hours on Thursday, November 3, at the Honey Bowen Building. This was the second scheduled meeting for the committee. The meeting was held at the Honey Bowen Building due to renovations of the Bulloch County Annex.

Full video of the two hour moratorium meeting

Farmers concerns and recommendations

Committee members Will Groover and Wade McElveen began the conversation by bringing concerns of the agricultural community to the table.

The two met with 25 farmers as well as other individuals and residents to get their take on the development of Southeast Bulloch County. As the county moves forward with its intended “smart growth,” the agriculture community has particular interest in protecting its land and industry, especially as it relates to protecting multi-generational farms.

“This land is more than just ag land,” McElveen said. “It’s an irreplaceable natural resource. When you convert it, it’s gone. It’ll never be used for agriculture again.”

Groover and McElveen relayed comments and concerns about wells in the area and their potential impact on land, pending further development. They also noted the need for both height and lateral clearance for farming vehicles when subdivisions and other structures are developed in the area.

They proposed that the county consider reducing the area for development initially, focusing more on an area of the map near the Bryan County line. They noted that whether or not the people in that area should feel threatened, the reality is that they do. McElveen asked the county to keep that in mind as they make decisions.

Below are the Ag Community Concerns and Recommendations in full:

Couch agrees farmers concerns align with revised plan

Tom Couch, Bulloch County Manager said that the county’s preference in going forward is to develop more along the Highway 46 corridor than to go north of that. While the Black Creek Watershed area will likely prevent development in its vicinity, he said, present and future commissioners must be careful of their zoning decisions moving forward.

To a great degree, the commission’s commitment to developing the water utilities in the area will determine how much growth is possible. Couch said that development too far past Arcola Road is probably not possible without putting in a new wastewater system or running sewer from the City of Statesboro.

There was also some discussion about the possibility of impact fees in the area, though Couch said the current level of development may make them impractical for Bulloch County.

Couch assured both Groover and McElveen that the concerns of the agricultural community were heard and well taken, and in his opinion, the two groups are not far off from each other in their hopes for that area of the county.

Subdivision Regulations Revisions

Couch walked through proposed subdivision regulation revisions that they plan on incorporating in the revision of the Comprehensive Plan. Couch believes that many of the concerns with growth can be addressed through revisions of the subdivision regulations.

Manager Couch’s Full Presentation

Subdivision regulations with markups

Minutes from first meeting

Whitney Lavoie

Whitney Turner Lavoie is a Statesboro native and freelance writer/editor. She is an active volunteer with her children’s school PTO and Girl Scouts of America. Whitney previously worked in health communications...

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...