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City council approves new zoning designation

RINCON —  A new zoning district designation is destined for Fort Howard Road and possibly other areas in Rincon.

During its May 24 meeting, the Rincon City Council voted 5-0 to add a Corridor Overlay (C.O.) District to Section 90-182 of the city code for the purpose of applying additional buffer standards to key corridors within the city limits.

“It’s a lot of technical terms for basically saying that you have to set up a lot of trees and bushes,” City Planner Jason Stewart said.

The first C.O. applies to the Fort Howard Road Corridor from Ga. Hwy 21 along Fort Howard Road to the city limits with an area designated to be 500 feet from each side of Fort Howard Road.

The Fort Howard corridor rapidly growing and the zoning change is designed to keep businesses from negatively impacting its residential character. 

“From the street, basically, there will be a 10-foot buffer,” Stewart said. “It will have to have screening along the road. You can still have your business sign and things like that but there are additional screening requirements on the public right of way.

“From the other side, there will be a buffer required against uses that are residential versus commercial. If you are commercial abutting a residential area, you will have to have a 30-foot buffer.”

The zoning change targets unslghtly properties in another way, too. Stewart used a small tract that is for sale across from Lost Plantation as an example. It has been covered with downed trees and stumps for several months. 

“They wouldn’t be able to knock down those trees without, one a replanting plan, and, two, they would have to leave a buffer,” he said.

Stewart said other primary corridors in Rincon will likely get similar treatment if the Fort Howard C.O. proves to be successful.

At the end of the meeting, Councilmen Reese Browher and Levi Scott expressed expectations that the C.O. will deliver the desired results.

“I think it’s great and I appreciate you taking the lead on that,” Browher said to Stewart.