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Plan would increase power of zoning laws
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Editor’s note: This is the second part in an installment on an open letter on the county comprehensive plan.

Sen. Jack Hill reports DCA requested additional state funds of $575,000 for the coastal comprehensive plan for year ’09. It’s expected  to be matched by counties along the coast. (Effingham Herald, Sept. 11, 2007.) Sen. Hill, with DCA’s request for over a million dollars in additional funding for the six counties involved in the coastal comprehensive plan, what will be the additional cost of funding the comprehensive plan statewide?

If property taxes are replaced by sales tax, Georgia would be the first state to do so. (Savannah Morning News, Nov. 5, 2007.) Public anger has caused two states to repeal legislation on taxed services. (Savannah Morning News, B. Larrabee; W. Jones, Nov. 6, 2007.)  

Buddy Carter, (same issue), reports that some groups around the state are afraid of losing local control. Are groups aware the Georgia Planning Act of 1989 and the comprehensive plan give Georgia agencies the ability to influence or supplant local control, due in part to regional issues?   

State and local hidden agendas are evident in the forming of the comprehensive plan. At a meeting, the few participants in attendance respond to prompts about “community vision” for societal good, in discussing privately owned property and land use.   

The comprehensive plan has not been subjected to public scrutiny and popular vote. Therefore, citizens are largely unaware of its existence and its danger; it’s development is undemocratic. One citizen’s voice carries more weight than another’s voice. The demarcation line on the land use map along Highway 119 was removed by plan’s participants. Before the next meeting, it had been reinserted.      

We want to know, “Whose voice carried more weight than the voices removing the line?”

The comprehensive plan’s language and policies increase bureaucracy, red tape and show veiled contempt for the individual taxpaying citizen, free enterprise, and the private sector. Bias is evident in a careful reading of policies and terms of  document. Examples:  “…allow property owners to …” “protect … area and lands from human encroachment” “reduce the visual impact of the automobile,” land disturbing regulations, prezoning land south of Highway 119 as developable and north of Highway 119 as rural, tree farming placed under tree preservation, etc.  

The comprehensive plan, if implemented, increases zoning power which is unnecessary, undesirable and burdensome. Zoning laws are already in effect, supposedly for environmental and safety purposes. It is possible courts of law would use the land use maps and wording of comprehensive plan to base its verdicts on zoning issues.  

The comprehensive plan’s design and implementation defy democracy and freedom. In its implementation, it has great implications for us, our children and grandchildren. The law of physics is true: For every action, there is a reaction.

Freedom is not free. It brings a responsibility to be vigilant to the danger within, as well as without. Because government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people, the opportunity, no, the responsibility to speak and vote is ours.

If not, we will be feeding a growing giant impervious to taxpayers’  freedoms in its denial of our constitutional rights as it controls our water and our land. All, at our expense.

Say with us, “Not on our watch.”

May we remind our county commissioners and our state representatives a stroke of a pen began the 1989 Georgia Planning Act. A stroke of a pen could undo it. You have the collective power and our support.

Many state laws have been ruled unconstitutional and repealed. It takes a grass roots’ movement of the people who are unhappy with: the law that denies the constitutional rights of the individual; the law that circumvents democracy, and the law that costs more than we are willing to pay.

The comprehensive plan will be presented to the Effingham County commissioners Nov. 20 before being sent to the DCA for approval. Please plan to attend.  Stand up for your constitutional rights.

E-mail showing support of appeal or ask questions at with subject: Stop Plan!

Carolyn Collins