Straightening out the confusion

August 24, 2012

The way Oconee’s zoning administrator interprets the action last night of the board of appeals is that appeals board members, in their role as judges, agreed with the attorney for St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. 96.3/WGOG NEWS earlier reported last night’s 4-3 vote as a loss for the Walhalla church. But Josh Stephens, zoning administrator, tells us, “Staff followed procedures that were in place at the time. However, the procedures should have required a more uniformed petition, and that we were wrong for not looking at them that way. And that if we had done that the petition would not have met 51%.” And that is what St. John’s attorney Larry Brandt contended during a hearing August 16. So, now as to the effect on J.M. Smith’s submitted petitions for lake residential zoning, Stephens said, “I’m preparing copies of the order for multiple parties involved in the process. Mr. Brandt will be receiving one. Those with standing, Mr. Smith. Also will be preparing copies for council and the commission…” County Council already has given the rezoning application a first reading approval.

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