During the March 2 City Council Meeting, The Mayor and Council of the City of Canton adopted a resolution seeking to keep local control over design standards, development fees, zoning regulations, and decisions related to development moratoriums at the level of government closest to the citizens most impacted.
"Current legislation circulating at the State Capitol (HB 514 and HB 517) would eliminate local powers related to development and building standards and regulations," explained City Manager Billy Peppers. "These bills would strip enforcement of decisions made through public processes at the City level in an effort to make homebuilding more profitable and faster for builders. This move for profit and productivity comes at the cost of public health, public safety, and citizen input related to the styles and standards of residential projects to be built on neighboring properties."
Canton Mayor Bill Grant added to Peppers' sentiments, "Our citizens rely on their local government to control housing standards, quality of development, and the character of our community. House Bills 514 and 517 would undermine the Mayor and Council's control of maintenance and zoning standards in our city and, therefore, give developers an upper hand."
Among some of the items these bills seek to remove from local control include standards related to building materials, minimum lot sizes, minimum square footage requirements for residential units, and minimum requirements for road frontage for the development of a lot. Eliminating these controls removes local character from design, inhibits safety on public roadways, and impacts the property values of existing residents in favor of profiting national builders.
"Legislation similar to these current bills have come before the House and Senate Committees in prior years, but at this time, builder lobbyists are seizing on current conditions in the housing market to back their claims that these local controls impact the ability to get product on the market," said Peppers. "The legislation as presented would not only allow builders to develop unchecked, but to their taste, their standards, and their styles with no input from the local communities impacted by their development."
The City Council will transmit the attached resolution to the local delegation and encourage concerned residents to reach out to the members of the House and Senate to voice their opinions on this preemptive legislation.
"We encourage our citizens to contact their local legislators and join us in our resolution that opposes these misguided bills," said Grant. "It is imperative we send a strong message that local building standards should always be controlled at the local level in partnership with citizens and their elected officials and not by lobbyists representing developers."
Resolution (link here: https://www.cantonga.gov/home/showdocument?id=954&t=638134328604826589)
House Bill 514 (link here: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/64638)
House Bill 517 (link here: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/64637)