12 Star Ranch Redux

Like a bad penny, it’s back. Previously, I was able to report a confrontation. Eventually, the rezoning application was withdrawn and Glynn County approved a preliminary plat for a 26 lot subdivision and even granted a waiver for the use of On Site Disposal Systems (OSDS) of a novel engineering design. Now the applicants want the waiver for 33% more lots and I’m going to again object, as my letter to Commissioner Boland explains.

Dear Commissioner Boland:

This 12 Star Ranch project is like a bad penny. The staff work is worse. Attached please find my comments from when the applicant wanted a zoning change. That proposal morphed into a subdivision of a FA zoned partial lot, which ignored the fact that the whole thing could be clear cut before any more development occurs. After some negotiation, it was agreed that 26 lots with individual on site disposal systems might be OK and the Glynn County Commission agreed to accommodate that density with OSDS. Now the applicants are wanting to increase the number of lots by 33% and the staff recommends approval as if there had been no change in the density (which is what the press report assumed because staff did not include the approved preliminary subdivision in its report).

That the required information is to be found on the plat is not really adequate, since the plat is not readily available to the public. Moreover, since preliminary plats are not recorded, they have no legal standing and there is nothing enforceable, if the plans are not carried out. What’s the penalty if wetlands are disturbed before the applicable permits are acquired from the Army Corps of Engineers? Besides, why are these wetlands not considered marshlands since Buffalo Creek is tidal?

There have been 50 reviews of this project by staff and yet none of their concerns appear in the written record. Putting notes on plats that disappear into the archives is useless.

The County Engineer reports that drainage/storm water management systems are compliant. Where is the evidence that storm water management plans have even been presented and reviewed? How can the non-existent be compliant? Will the wetlands be protected by a 25′ buffer? Perhaps zoning densities should be defined in terms of buildable areas, including utilities and roads. When is the Planning Commission going to get around to revising zoning and land use criteria to make them consistent with environmental conditions. For example, the soils in this area are mostly Pelham loamy sand, poorly drained, where the water table is between 0″ and 12″ from the surface. According to the soil survey,
these soils interact badly with steel and concrete. Moreover, the designations assume that buildings are going to be constructed on undisturbed soil. Thus, the filling some of our builders are engaged in to escape the limitations of flood hazard zones should be a serious concern. A sand hill is not a good place to build.