Ordinance changes are a legislative means to improving the Quality of Life of Douglas County citizens. I am a very active commissioner and initiated most of these changes – but recognition must be given to the full board for supporting their adoption.
Established Transportation Infrastructure Fund within County Budget
This fund is intended to fund transportation planning and construction for Douglas County projects, allowing the county to seek the return of county taxpayers’ money from the state and federal governments – by having matching funds immediately available, without need to reply on SPLOST revenues. It will also permit a shorter cycle-time of repaving roads. Right now we have 100+ miles of roads in varying degrees of needing paving. I was pleased to have the support of the other commissioners in creating the Transportation Infrastructure Fund.
Amenity Areas in Subdivisions
Amenity areas are now required to be near the center of a development, not at the front or side or back property lines. This is to avoid placing amenities near existing homes in adjacent subdivisions that might be disturbed by the lights or noise coming from the new amenity area. This is also more convenient and – most important of all – safer for children.
Amenity areas are now required for smaller subdivisions, and larger developments must now have split or multiple amenity facilities.
Improved Tree Ordinance
This was one of my first initiatives. Clear-cutting is no longer permitted. Trees must remain scattered throughout a development, not just on the back property line. An undisturbed buffer must remain along all county rights-of-way or these areas must have a raised and planted berm. Specimen (large and/or old) trees are now protected. More trees are required to be added to a development when old trees are removed.
Improved Home Owner Association Ordinance
Ensure transparent bookkeeping – Requires developers to reveal financial information about the HOA to property owners of record as it relates to the operation, funding and expenditures of the HOA while it is under the control of the developer.Dam/Lake Ordinance to Protect Home Owners
Requires developers to insure the integrity of any dam with an independent certification, before transferring title of the dam to the residents’ HOA. In the past, homeowners have bought into “lake communities,” often paying a premium price to be on the water. Dam failures have occurred that have cost individual home owners tens of thousands of dollars.
Anti-Tethering Ordinance and Establishing the Animal Control Advisory Board
Prohibits the tie-out of animals/dogs on a rope or chain as a means of permanent restraint. A citizens’ Animal Control Advisory Board was established to assist the county’s animal control department with policy and procedure recommendations.
Village Overlay Districts for Quality Commercial Developments – Hwy. 5
Greatly improves the appearance of developments with required standards for brick, stone and masonry facades and better lighting standards. Prohibits certain businesses.
Lot Side Setbacks
Side setbacks (distance between houses) was increased to 15’ to the property line (30’ between houses). This reduces the number of homes that can be built in a piece of land. It also provides better fire protection between homes and improves safety for our firefighters. I favor further increasing this setback.
I established the Douglas County Trail Alliance, which was instrumental in facilitating federal funding for a new multi-purpose trail segment built in Boundary Waters Park (opened in 2013). This trail is part of the Chattahoochee Trail Master Plan and is far ahead of the other three participating counties.
This hard surface trail – handicapped accessible – is the initial section of network plans to connect through Sweetwater State Park to the Silver Comet Trail in Cobb.
Nine miles of natural surface walking trails have been established in Boundary Waters Park and any new park construction will include trails.
New residential building will usually be required to include access to trails; many commercial developments will require trails for non-automobile access similar to Peachtree City.
Re-Establishing the Cemetery Preservation Committee
Setup to locate, identify, research, reclaim, and maintain cemeteries in Douglas County. Also to engage in the development and zoning approval process to protect these important sites.
Storm Water Outflow
Modified development code so that storm water outflows cannot be placed in a homeowner’s yard but must be taken to the property line.
Established Special Needs Advisory Board – Parks & Recreation & Special Needs Coordinator in Department
This board was established to give voice to our county’s special needs population and to facilitate and enhance parks and recreation support of this important group. Dedicated staff was added to the department to assist special populations in accessing and enjoying our parks.