A lawsuit has been filed against Bryan County Georgia and its Board of Commissioners to stop new aesthetic design and impact fee measures that grossly infringe on private property rights. These measures are being used across the State to "control growth," but opponents argue these ordinances deter homeowership and cripple commercial development.
Bryan County recently implented two new regulations under their Interim Development Ordinance. According to the lawsuit, the aesthetic design regulations cause a significant increase in home prices, which, intentionally or unintentionally, could put the American Dream of homeownership out of reach for the local residents.
Commerial properties not only have to conform to new design standards, but also excessive impact fees. For example, a new fast food restaurant could pay $310,000 in impact fees, a gas station and convenience store could pay $500,000 in impact fees, and medical offices could pay between $70,000 and $115,000 depending on their size.
Why is this important to our members? Other cities and counties are watching this suit. If Bryan County is successful, other cities and counties will have the legal backing to do the same thing. Local jurisdictions are using these measures as a backdoor way of extending the legal reach of government.
The Governmental Affairs Committee will continue to monitor new developments with this lawsuit and be ready to act when necessary.