Hogansville opposes HB302

Published 6:43 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

HOGANSVILLE – The City of Hogansville joined ranks with the City of LaGrange, Troup County and myriad other neighboring communities on Monday night when the city council voted unanimously to approve a joint resolution between the council and mayor, opposing House Bill 302.

HB302, if passed, would prohibit from regulating “design building elements” in single or double family dwellings, which could negatively impact economic developments. Amongst other action, the city council also voted to approve a request by the Hogansville Regional Arts Association (HRAA) to install a Pollinator Park near the intersection of Johnson Street, East Main Street and High Street.

“Basically, what this bill does is it removes from local governments, both city and county, the ability to set certain standards in terms of planning and zoning, in terms of local property, historic preservation ordinances and vests that in the state,” Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz said during the Monday city council meeting.

“The Georgia Municipal Association is vehemently against the passage of this bill, as are all our neighboring cities and our county.”

Rep. Vance Smith (R-Pine Mountain) who is a sponsor of the bill, has been quoted in an earlier interview as believing local governments are in danger of infringing on private property rights.

“I just feel like at some point we are going to start interfering — and have in some areas — with those private property rights,” Smith said in an interview with The LaGrange Daily News on Feb. 27. “I believe citizens have the right, on their property, abiding by the laws that are on the books, to build their homes and have the right color, the right materials that they want on the outside.”

The Hogansville City Council unanimously passed the joint resolution opposing the bill, which will be sent to Atlanta.

The city council also approved the proposed Pollinator Park to be installed near the future city hall location, under the direction of the HRAA.

The park will be approximately 83x72x50 feet, and will serve to beautify the downtown area as well as to educate the public on the effects of herbicides and insecticides. Native plants will be included in the park, and the expectation is the park will be self-sufficient within one year. The HRAA requested the use of city water to jumpstart the park, which will be particularly important within the first year.

“I think it’s a great idea, but I would like an agreement between the council and the HRAA that lays out who is going to maintain it,” Hogansville City Manager David Milliron said. “The only two concerns I would have are any cost associated to the city, other than water, and long-term maintenance.”

The HRAA agreed to handle all maintenance of the park, and made clear no cost would be associated to the city other than the use of city water.

“I think it would be an asset to the city,” City Councilman Fred Higgins said. “I recommend it.”

The council voted unanimously to approve the park.

The city council also took the following action Monday night:

4Approved emergency funds for the work taking place on West Boyd Road, which will exceed budgeted expense as a result of unexpected soft, unstable ground.

4Appointed Ellen Shellabarger to the Hogansville Planning and Zoning Commission, as well as re-appointed Gayle Devereaux and Carol Smith to the same commission.