Commission Considering Building Moratorium

It all started with the controversy over building a Wal-mart in the Sandfly area; now all builders in southeast Chatham County may be out of luck for a short while. The Chatham County Commission may put a stop to future development in that area in an effort to develop a land use plan.

There is some strong opposition to this 90-day moratorium. Certain groups worry it may scare off future development and strongly oppose it, while others say taking time may help point the county in the right direction.

"It's a very small portion of Chatham County," said District 3 commissioner John McMasters. "It's a portion of the county which is already developed, so we're looking at just commercial impact and redevelopment of existing things."

But not everyone agrees with a moratorium. WTOC obtained a letter written by the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) and the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, stating their opposition to this sudden move.

"In a moratorium, there are an awful lot of people in the building trade--electricians, plumbers, carpenters, roofers and people who supply them--whose work would be stopped in that part of town," said SEDA's Ric Winger.

Commission chair Billy Hair echoes some of their concerns.

"I think it sends an antigrowth message to the people looking at investing in Chatham County and I think that's not a good thing," he said.

The county will take up this issue on Friday, when it can either vote on whether or not to impose a moratorium or vote to have more time for discussion. We spoke with the Home Builders Association earlier, which says it will have representatives at the meeting to discuss this topic. This issue is bound to be a subject of debate.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro