Home Builders Association of Greater Savannah held a press conference last week. to announce filing a lawsut against Bryan Co. Attorney Bill Glass with Weiner Shearouse Weitz Greenberg & Shawe, LLP spoke on behalf of the Home Builders Association of Greater Savannah.
Bryan County recently passed two ordinances that go way beyond the government’s powers by restricting private property rights and making new homes unaffordable for teachers, first responders, military and other moderate income homebuyers in Bryan County. If home ownership is the American Dream, then these ordinances unnecessarily push that dream out of reach for too many Bryan County citizens.
The government’s job is to serve its citizens by passing regulations that promote and protect health, safety and welfare. The government’s job is not to design our homes or reset housing prices.
Under its newly enacted Interim Development Ordinance, Bryan County is telling private property owners how they must design their homes. For example, the County is requiring roof and garage designs that go far beyond the government’s role to protect health and safety. Instead of helping citizens, these requirements only serve to increase the cost of home ownership to the detriment of our citizens.
At the same time, the County has enacted an unlawful Impact Fee Ordinance, which charges new homeowners and businesses excessive fees for traffic improvements. On top of the substantial increases in cost caused by the development ordinance, under the impact fee ordinance, homebuyers will pay an additional $3,128 for new homes. For Bryan County citizens hoping to open their own businesses, the situation is even worse. 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. There is a clause that allows the County to exempt some businesses from the ordinance, however, residential construction cannot be exempted. If the County gets its way, new homeowners will likely bear the brunt of the impact fees, which will make homes even less affordable in Bryan County. Such unequal treatment is unconstitutional and violates the terms of the Georgia Development Impact Fee Act.
The Home Builders Association of Greater Savannah works to promote, protect
and preserve home ownership in the greater Savannah area, including Bryan County, Georgia. The HBA is dedicated to promoting home ownership for all citizens in Bryan County and we strenuously oppose any zoning codes or other regulations that diminish housing availability or affordability for moderate income homebuyers. For all of these reasons, the Home
Builders Association has filed a lawsuit against Bryan County to prevent the government from overstepping its limited authority, to protect the rights of property owners, and to keep housing affordable for all Bryan County citizens.