71st & Harvard zoning update


The F&M Bank 71st and Harvard rezoning issue is back on the City Council agenda this week. It's on the Urban and Economic Development committee agenda on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m., at which time it's expected that the neighborhood's protest will be certified, requiring approval of the zoning change by seven councilors. The zoning change itself will probably be before the City Council on Thursday night.

I am awaiting confirmed details, but I am told that several of the councilors who support the rezoning received campaign contributions from F&M executives. In doing some research into Savannah's zoning process, I saw this prominent notice, which appears at the top of the planning commission's agenda each week:

The Georgia Conflict of Interest in Zoning Actions Statute (OCGA Chapter 67A) requires disclosure of certain campaign contributions made by applicants for rezoning actions and by opponents to rezoning actions. Contributions or gifts which in aggregate total $250.00 or more if made within the last two years to a member of the Metropolitan Planning Commission, City Council, or County Commission who will act on the request must be disclosed by applicants. Persons who oppose a rezoning request by speaking before these officials, by direct contact with these officials, or in writing to these officials must also disclose such contributions. Disclosure reports must be filed with either the Clerk of Council or the Clerk of the Chatham County Commissioners, as appropriate, by applicants within ten (10) days after the rezoning application is filed and by opponents at least five (5) calendar days prior to the first hearing by the Metropolitan Planning Commission. Failure to comply is a misdemeanor.

This seems a fair way to provide the public with information to evaluate the performance of the councilors. I would hope that any councilor who took a significant amount of campaign money from F&M executives or board members would voluntarily recuse themselves from this decision.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 27, 2003 2:16 AM.

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