SCBOC Meets Tonight; Land Use Regulation Updates on Agenda

The Stephens County Board of Commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. today for a regularly scheduled meeting. The meeting will take place at the Historic Courthouse, 37 West Tugalo Street in Toccoa.

Prior to the regular meeting, the Board will hold two public hearings regarding proposed changes to county ordinances.

First up will be the first reading and public hearing for proposed changes to the county’s Land Use Ordinance. 

The proposed ordinance amendments would change specific livestock and poultry operations from a Conditional Use to a by-right, or permitted use under county ordinances. The effect of adoption of this amendment would apply only to properties within an Agricultural Intensive Zoning District; it would have no impact on properties designated to any other zoning district. 

Adoption of the amendment would allow for livestock and poultry operations on properties zoned Agricultural Intensive without the need for property owners to come before the Board for a conditional use permit, as long as the operation meets all requirements of the district, including setback and buffer requirements. The proposed amendments, if adopted, also increase the setback and buffer requirements of the AI zoning district to provide additional protection for surrounding properties. 

The proposed amendment to the land use ordnance in relation to livestock and poultry operations received support from Georgia Mountains Regional Commission Planning Director Adam Hazell, who pointed out that even without the change,  approval of a conditional use permit should be based on the application meeting the requirements of the zoning district, such as setback and buffer specifications, as opposed to a subjective decision based on public input. 

WNEG News recently spoke with County Administrator Christian Hamilton about the proposed amendments to the land use ordinance in relation to livestock and poultry operations.

Unrelated to livestock or poultry operations, proposed changes in the land use ordinance include increased setback requirements for apartment, duplex and condominium developments.

A second public hearing and first reading of an ordinance amendment on the agenda for tonight’s meeting is a removal of the need for residential properties to obtain a driveway permit. Driveway permits would still be required for any properties other than single-family residential. 

Specific details of the proposed amendments will be attached or linked to this story on

Also on tonight’s agenda is consideration of a proposal for Phase II of Building and Grounds Design Services with JMA Architecture.

According to agenda documentation, under consideration is a project that would involve the construction of a new “Stephens County Government Annex” which would “consolidate all  the departments of local county government that serve the public, into one structure.”  Initial project parameters would place county administration, including the office of the county administrator, the board of commissioners, the building department, the county clerk, the cooperative extension service office, the finance and accounts payable departments, human resources, maintenance, planning and zoning, the Marshal’s office, the tax commissioner office and tax assessor office and office space for Stephens County Economic Development.

Meeting rooms and commission chambers would also be considered for inclusion.

The proposal under consideration at tonight’s meeting is to allow JMA Architecture to move forward with a study of this proposed building, looking at the space requirements, location possibilities, and other factors; approval at tonight’s meeting would not constitute an obligation to move forward with the actual construction of the building. 

Project details and specifics of the motion under consideration at tonight’s meeting will be available attached to this story on

Members of the public are invited to attend the meeting, and are welcome to address commissioners during the Public Comment section of the meeting.  Contact information for commissioners is available attached to this story on

For more information, contact county clerk Samantha Turner at (706) 898-5750.

Chair Tara Simmons, Post 1 

(706) 244-5670

[email protected]


Commissioner Debbie Whitlock, Post 2

(706) 599-3419

[email protected]


Commissioner Dennis Bell, Post 3

(706) 391-0447

[email protected]


Vice Chair Chris Rickman, Post 4

(706) 244-5125

[email protected]


Commissioner Chuck Wright, Post 5

(706) 886-9491

[email protected]