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Port Wentworth city council approves industrial re-zoning moratorium

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 10:42 PM EDT
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PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (WTOC) - Tonight, Port Wentworth council members passed a moratorium that will last for six months.

This decision comes after residents have been constantly pushing the city for years to re-evaluate industrial rezoning proposals.

Some people in this community are upset that they move into a neighborhood with land next to it zoned residential and it’s rezoned for industrial use.

City council members passed the moratorium unanimously. There was no opposition to a pause.

City leaders agree that zoning ordinances need to be re-evaluated and residents said taxpayers bear the brunt of Port Wentworth’s development decisions.

“We’re becoming so inundated with traffic and warehouses and other businesses that the property owners and homeowners are the ones who are bearing the brunt of the taxes for Chatham County.”

“In order to ensure efficient and smart development, we must review and revise our zoning ordinances and started with an industrial moratorium is a good place.”

Mayor Pro Tem Thomas Barbee said, “we don’t have to rezone anything, anything there’s no law. When an old council rezones something the new council is obligated by law to make sure that zoning is carried through.”

“Every meeting I’ve been at this year since taking this position, there’s infrastructure needs. While we have a comprehensive plan, we don’t have a plan for the comprehensive plan,” said City Manager Steve Davis.

The six month pause should take effect immediately. The city said they will bring on an outside agency to re-evaluate zoning ordinances, codes, take a look at the comprehensive plan and even create a digital mock up of the city.

There was discussion about extending the six month pause if they haven’t reached a point where they’ve finished the evaluation, but the resolution they voted on says this moratorium won’t exceed six months.

WTOC asked Mayor Pro Tem Thomas Barbee after the meeting for clarification and he had no comment. In a text message, City Manager Steve Davis said “the resolution can be extended by a subsequent vote if needed”.

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