Rome City Commissioner Evie McNiece proclaimed a victory for home rule and local activism when a bill that would have limited the board’s zoning authority stalled in the Georgia General Assembly.
“Sometimes you think you can’t make a difference, but you can, “ she told the board.
House Bill 302 failed to make it to the floor for a full chamber vote before the Crossover Day deadline. The measure would have prohibited the enforcement of local design standards for any single-family home or duplex outside an historic district.
Rome Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution of opposition — along with other city and county boards around the state — contending it would affect future development plans. The resolutions were delivered to local legislative delegates and to all the sponsors.
“We want local control ... We don’t need anyone to tell us how to design our city,” McNiece said.
The measure passed out of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee twice but Rules Committee chairman Rep. Jay Powell, R-Camilla, sent it back for reconsideration in February. It was approved again on Crossover Day, March 7, but Powell never put it on the calendar for a House vote.
The lead sponsor of HB 302 is the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman, Rep. Vance Smith, R-Pine Mountain. McNiece said Vance could still try to attach the language to another bill, but she expects the opposition to hold.
A similar bill in the Senate failed to get a committee hearing. April 2 is the final day of the 2019 legislative session but bills that fail to pass this year remain alive for 2020.
City Commissioner Craig McDaniel said the initiative is being pushed by national builders who want to use the same development plans in any community without considering if they’re compatible.