Savannah’s NewZo public hearings set for Thursday

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – There’s an end in site for new zoning rules Savannah leaders have been molding for nearly a decade.

The new code, NewZo, will govern land uses for every piece of property in the city.

Bridget Lidy, Savannah’s Director of Planning & Urban design says NewZo updates a code that was established in the 1960s.

“What we’ve done when we updated the zoning map and zoning districts, we tried to make sure that we were in keeping with keeping residential areas residential and commercial areas commercial,” she said, adding, “There are some tweaks where we see a lot more pedestrian activity, a lot more commercial activity in some of the more residential neighborhoods like Waters Avenue, where we changed that zoning district to provide the opportunity for more mixed use.”

The re-write of the zoning ordinances is the talking point for three separate public hearings in Savannah’s City Council meeting on Thursday. The first formally adopts zoning hearing procedures.

The second hearing is about the adoption of voting standards in zoning hearings and the third public hearing seeks input on the repeal of the old code and making NewZo the new zoning law in Savannah.

“All of that will happen Thursday,” said Lidy. “Now, with the repeal of the existing code and the adoption of the new code, following that public hearing we’ll have to have a first and second reading which will happen in July. July 2nd and July 18th.”

Anyone wanting to weigh-in on NewZo can do so in the council chambers Thursday, June 20. But Lidy suggests those who want to be heard arrive before 2 p.m.

“They should probably come a little early to sign-in. A speaker card, which will be distributed to the Mayor, and he’ll call the person’s name when the public hearing actually commences.”

She added that those who want to see what the old code looks like, versus the NewZo changes, can view it online at newzo.org.

“There’s an interactive zoning map where individuals can type in the address where they live and see what the proposed zoning code is going to be, as well as the existing zoning code, as well as the texts that support, um, the different standards and uses we have,” Lidy explained.

If the mayor & council approve and adopt NewZo, it will take effect September 2019. 

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