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City amends zoning rule to carry over 'grandfathered' uses
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Hinesville properties that have been grandfathered in can now keep their zoning when sold, thanks to an amendment of the city’s zoning ordinances.

The Hinesville City Council amended its ordinance concerning nonconforming uses at its Feb. 2 meeting. It goes into effect immediately.

Jeff Ricketson, executive director of the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission, said the issue arose recently when someone wanted to sell a mobile home park, and according to the ordinance, section 610, the grandfather status did not transfer with the sale.

The ordinance reads: "A nonconforming use shall not be directly or indirectly continued by sale or transfer to any entity in which the current owner does not continue to own at least 50 percent interest."

"If you have a property in the city that is zoned R-2 (two-family residential) but it’s been used for the last 40 years as a mobile home park, and that owner wants to sell the mobile home park to somebody else who wants to operate that as a mobile park, the way the ordinance reads, they would have to shut down that mobile home park, come to you (the city council) and get that property rezoned for a mobile home park," Ricketson said.

J.C. Lewis III requested a special permit on behalf the owner L.P. Media, Inc. of J.C. Lewis Ford for the continued operation of an automobile dealership at 305 W. Oglethorpe Highway, formerly Hinesville Ford. The request covers 7.45 acres of existing dealership and adjacent property along South Commerce Street, behind the Hinesville Fire Department.

A planned expansion includes a possible new building, parking and access off of South Commerce Street.

Ricketson said a car dealership has been operating at the location for decades.

"It was grandfathered because you can only operate a car dealership in C3 zoning or C2 zoning with a special use permit. It predated the zoning that was put in place. That property changed hands from Hinesville Ford to J.C. Lewis Ford," Ricketson said.

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