Madison County commissioners voted unanimously Feb. 25 to oppose state legislation that will undermine oversight of local building guidelines. House Bill 302 is vigorously opposed by the Association County Commissioners Georgia and a number of county and city governments.

A recent Atlanta Journal Constitution article put it this way: “Imagine this: Under a proposed law, your neighbor can finally finish their home redesign, complete with bright orange paint and a two-car garage coming right up to the street. It’s an obvious eyesore, but one local governments are powerless to stop.”

HB 302 has been proposed to curtail local government overreach on imposing guidelines, but leaders in counties and cities in Georgia are saying it goes too far. Officials fear it would hinder local government’s control of the look and design of homes, taking away the ability to set standards on such things as the color and building material, number of rooms and other general design elements on single- and double-family houses.

“I think it’s an overreach by the state,” said county commissioner Derek Doster.

In a separate matter Monday, the board agreed to eliminate one of the four scheduled public comment sessions it holds at its two meetings each month. The board holds an agenda setting meeting on the first Monday of the month and a business meeting on the final Monday. The board allows comments on agenda items at both meetings and has also allowed “comments on any matter” at both meetings. But the board agreed to eliminate “comments on any matter” at its agenda setting meetings, though that will still be allowed at the end of business meetings.

In a separate matter, commissioner Stanley Thomas spoke in favor of the BOC offering financial guarantees on the planned construction of a new Neese-Sanford Fire Department. He noted the county is growing and that citizens get a great bargain from volunteer fire departments, instead of having to fund paid fire departments. The board postponed any discussion of the fire hall issue until the March 4 meeting.

Commission chairman John Scarborough was asked with Hwy. 172 might be resurfaced. The highway is state maintained. He said he expects it will happen when the weather is better and in conjunction with the repaving of the old Hwy. 72.

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