Industrial moratorium ends in Port Wentworth, new ordinance in place for industrial developers

Published: Jul. 14, 2023 at 9:56 PM EDT
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PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (WTOC) - Just over a year ago, the Port Wentworth city council listened to the plea from locals to re-evaluate city rezoning proposals. As a result, the city put an industrial moratorium in place.

The moratorium was only to last six months at the time of its induction, but with the consistent push from locals to continue to look at the flaws in their current system, it was pushed back until June 22 when the city council voted to dissolve and resume industrial rezoning.

A favorable solution to long-time issues - says one Port Wentworth resident who has been a consistent part of the push for change.

Janet Hester has been a vocal part of the community for years, demanding change and accountability for what was happening in the city. She says the original moratorium was a necessary part of getting that change.

When asked, “as someone who has been pushing for so many years, are you content, with this new ordinance?”

Janet Hester said, “I would say yes because they closed some of the loopholes.”

City Manager Steve Davis said that the sustainable growth seen in the city in such a short time called for a re-evaluation of certain ordinances such as the rezoning.

“There was a need to get everything under control, we needed to redo our ordinances, and over the last year and we have gone over and done completed overhaul which is the first time in over 30 years that they have gotten a new ordinance,” said Davis.

Originally put in place, after a new council, brought in an outside source to inspect the previous laws the moratorium put a halt on industrial rezoning.

Now, a year later, the new ordinance is holding a higher standard for industrial developers.

“The new ordinance will protect the resident by adding more requirements on the industrial zoning,” said Davis.

Things like buffers between residential and the industrial zones, improved transportation plans, and a more detailed site plan than was previously required from developers.

Hester says it’s not a perfect plan but she is thankful to see change coming.