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Why Flowery Branch opposed bill regulating housing standards
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The Flowery Branch City Council - photo by Jeff Gill

Flowery Branch City Council passed a resolution Thursday night opposing a Georgia bill that would limit local governments’ abilities to restrict architecture on homes in their cities or counties.

“This is a terrible bill,” City Attorney Ron Bennett told the council March 7. “It’s an awful bill for local governments. It strips you of complete control over regulating virtually the appearance of your community.”

The South Hall city’s resolution says the bill “would undermine self-determination of citizens to establish community standards.”

“County and municipal government officials are elected to make decisions about the look and feel of their communities,” the resolution says, “and HB 302 would transfer that power from duly elected local leaders to outside groups with little to no stake in the future or success of Georgia’s municipalities, including real estate developers and homebuilders.”

House Bill 302 has been under fire by governments locally and throughout the state since its introduction in the legislature. On Monday it was withdrawn from the House calendar and looked poised to die in committee as the Crossover Day deadline loomed.

The bill would prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances or regulations relating to building design elements on single-family homes or duplexes.

Lula also has passed a resolution opposing the bill, and Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs has sent letters to state Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, and Rep. Emory Dunahoo, R-Gainesville, opposing it, as well.

Oakwood “firmly believes that appropriate local design standards and land use policies create a diverse, stable, profitable and sustainable residential development landscape,” Scroggs’ letter said.

“HB 302 erodes the ability of local community to make decisions about the look and feel of their communities, which fosters economic development, preserves the character of communities, and utilizes design standards to ensure that the property values of surrounding property owners remain protected from incompatible development.”

Georgia Association of Realtors, an Atlanta-based trade organization, supports the bill, saying it “protects homeowners and potential homeowners from the overstep of government into their lives.”

“It allows communities to grow and young families to be able to purchase their first homes and not be forced into being perpetual renters,” the group says on its website. “It brings the American dream of homeownership within reach of more citizens, not just the ones local officials think deserve to be homeowners.”


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