Leslie City Council Discusses Changes to Zoning Map

Published 1:42 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The monthly meeting of the Leslie City Council was held on the 18th. Benji Johnson addressed the council with plans for the Georgia Sugar Cane Festival to be held November 4th.
“We’re looking for vendors. If you know someone who wants to be a vendor, we’d love to have you. We’re looking for a bigger turnout than it was last year.”
Mayor Matthew Daniel asked about the turnout.
“Last year’s was a pretty good turnout, wasn’t it?”
“It was, and lot’s better than we thought.”
Johnson also presented plans for another event.
“Miss Gale with The Town and Country Garden Club, and the Men’s Club, would like to get ya’lls permission on the first Saturday in October, we’d like to have a little get together, possibly in the parking lot, or over in the vacant part, just an appreciation of all the one’s that’s leaving the council.”
Afterward, council member Jane Butler made a motion to ratify the elections intergovernmental agreement for city elections with the county. Council member Clint Ledger seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Daniel addressed the Wayfinding project.
“I think we pretty much agreed we don’t have the money for it.”
The council also discussed the placement of a mobile home on 108 North Bailey and the zoning of the property. Daniel addressed the council.
“After talking with Mr. Skipper, it is determined that the only record we have is that that property is zoned commercial.”
He turned to Butler.
“I informed him that you said that to your knowledge that those mobile homes that were on that property were grandfathered in where they were.”
The city attorney, Jimmy Skipper, explained the situation concerning zoning.
“In zoning, it’s a concept called vested rights. What that means is that if a person has a permit issued for them to do something, as long as it’s zoned for what the permit says, then they can do it and you can’t change the rules after they applied for the permit. If it was zoned mobile homes, and they applied to put another mobile home, you couldn’t then change it back to commercial.”
The city clerk, Jessie Rees, mentioned the zoning map showed multiple zones.
“The map that I have that I use in the office does show different zoning. It shows agricultural, mobile home, and commercial for the whole place.”
Skipper mentioned that once someone had a permit there was not much the council could do.
“The person who gets the permit can do what the person is proposing to do.”
He did mention an exception.
“If the permit was not properly issued, if it was issued for something that was not allowed, then the permit would be considered void. Your only real recourse at this point is to try sue to make him move. The problem is that if we don’t even know what it’s zoned, we’re going to have a hard time winning any kind of lawsuit.”
Rees also brought up issues with the zoning map and Skipper brought up the need for a current map.
“State law does require you to have a current zoning map.”
He stated that the counsel couldn’t rely on qPublic for the official zoning.
“There’s a line on there somewhere that says that this shall not be considered to be the official zoning designation.”
Skipper gave a suggestion.
“Take the opportunity to get it straightened out by deciding what needs to be zoned what, and have a map drawn up. River Valley can draw your map. If there is anything that needs to be changed, just go through the zoning process to change it. That way you got it locked down.”
Daniel also mentioned the age of the map in use.
“That one [hasn’t] been updated since 2005.”
Skipper continued.
“Redrawing the map, that has to come after ya’ll have approved whatever they are going to put on the map.”
Daniel asked a question.
“Should we let the planning and zoning board do that?”
Skipper replied.
“It wouldn’t hurt.”