The Gillsville City Council is considering making some changes to the current zoning ordinances.

The council met for approximately two hours on Thursday, April 22, with city attorney David Syfan in attendance, to discuss some of the proposed changes and updates.

Two of the most notable changes are an increase in the minimum square footage from 1,000 sq. ft. of heated space for a single-family residence to a minimum of 1,400 sq. ft. of heated space and the other is to change from one unit per acre to one unit per two acres.

Several upgrades to the current ordinances were also discussed, including:

•a text amendment change dealing with wells and septic systems. The city doesn’t have jurisdiction over wells and septic systems, that is all handled by the Department of Health.

•an amendment stating all structures constructed in the city shall as a minimum conform to the International Building Codes and/or other codes that apply to the type of structure being constructed.

•an amendment stating all manufactured or mobile homes shall comply with the housing codes of the City of Gillsville, including but not limited to the minimum heated square footage for single family housing, the electrical code, the mechanical code, the plumbing code, the gas code, and the building code to the extent that said building code applies to manufactured or mobile homes.

•a change in the ordinance dealing with conditional uses to say the conditional use will be compatible with adjacent and nearby properties, land uses and property values.

•an amendment stating if established the Planning Commission shall operate independent of involvement by the City Council or any of its members.

Syfan said some of the amendments discussed “legally bother me.”

One amendment Syfan said he had issue with dealt with notification to adjacent property owners if a piece of property is being considered for a re-zoning.

Syfan said the statute does not require a mailed notification to adjacent property owners. The statute requires the city to run a legal notice in the legal organ 15 days before a public hearing is held on the re-zoning request.

Syfan also advised the council that written changes in the text amendments requires that a public notice be run in the legal organ and a public hearing be held before the changes are approved.

Syfan also recommended that the council have provisions in the ordinances on the number of people allowed in single-family homes. However, he did say that enforcement of this could be an issue.

“I recommend that you start a capital fund – maybe set aside $5,000 a year for a couple of years and hire a professional to re-write your ordinances,” Syfan said.

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