If new Bryan County Commission Chairman Carter Infinger thought his first meeting as chairman was going to go smoothly, he was probably surprised.
A proposed change to the zoning ordinance that would have allowed smaller lots if the developer and home builder agreed to heightened design criteria met with resistance from Beth Williams-Holley, owner of Ernest Homes, who said the restrictions in the optional ordinance could drive the price of homes up and limit the sales of new residential units in the county.
The cluster subdivision ordinance, allowing smaller lots but requiring vinyl siding and building the home on a raised slab, for example - both features designed to visually enhance the appearance of the home - would add thousands of dollars to the home’s price and further limit the ability of some prospective home buyers to afford new homes in Bryan County, she said.
Williams said the typical new construction for her company is 2,400 to 2,600 square feet and the price point is about $275,000.
She said it wasn’t practical to further decrease the size of the home to make up for the additional costs that would be levied by the ordinance.
The commission was supposed to vote on the new ordinance this week but decided to defer the vote until next month’s meeting.
The cluster subdivision ordinance first came up at the November commission meeting and the commissioners agreed to defer the consideration of the ordinance to give the planning department and the home builders association the opportunity to meet and work out any differences and come to an agreement on the ordinance’s specifics.
Bryan County Planning director Eric Greenway told the commissioners that since the November meeting, his office had not been contacted until last weekend by the home builders association about setting up a meeting.
That issue was discussed between the planning department and the home builders Wednesday morning and a meeting is scheduled to be held soon.
See next week’s issue for a complete report on Tuesday’s meeting.