Glynn County is taking aim at mobile home park regulations.
At a Glynn County Commission meeting on Tuesday, Community Development Director Pamela Thompson said an exemption in the local building code for mobile home parks could cause county residents to lose a 20 percent discount on flood insurance premiums if not removed by Jan. 1.
She said commissioners will soon receive an ordinance amendment rescinding an exemption from the requirement that all homes be built 1 foot above flood level. Currently, mobile homes in mobile home parks can substitute the 1-foot requirement for three feet above grade. Older homes will be grandfathered in, she said.
Attrition via replacements or upgrades will eventually necessitate elevation of every home in the only mobile home park on St. Simons Island, Thompson said.
She also spoke with the commission about RVs in mobile home parks.
Thirty-six mobile home parks across the county lease 1,749 mobile home lots. Some 106 RVS are scattered throughout the 36 parks and are being used as permanent residences.
In 2013, an edict from the Community Development Department allowed RVs to serve as permanent residences on up to 25 percent of lots in mobile home parks.
“That goes against our current ordinance,” Thompson said.
Rather than regulating RVs in mobile home parks, some commissioners were more interested in outlawing them in regular neighborhoods. Commissioner Bob Coleman said the Belle Point neighborhood has a problem with people allowing friends and family to live in RVs on their property, in some cases renting them out.
“There is, I will assure you, an issue out here,” Coleman said.
Commission Chairman Mike Browning said he felt strongly about outlawing the act of living in RVs in residential neighborhoods.
“I’ll go on the record, I’m not for allowing that in any part of Glynn County,” Browning said.
Thompson said code enforcement investigated a neighborhood and found seven RVs hooked up to either water or electricity. When asked, most residents said they kept them connected for upkeep purposes. As such, enforcing any regulations against them would be difficult, she said, but her department is working on it with the county’s legal counsel.
Commissioner David O’Quinn noted a lot of the people living in RVs are “on limited income.”
“I think if we try to put 120 folks out of those mobile homes in the next year, I don’t think that’s going to go well,” O’Quinn said.
Thompson said a good compromise would be to enforce the ordinance only when a septic tank fails. The health department then has to get involved. The commission took no direct action on the matter Tuesday.
Commissioners also heard an update on the zoning ordinances from consultant Woody Giles with TSW. Giles said an early draft of the new regulations will be released to the public in 2021.
Among other things, the new regulations will likely expand restrictions on septic tanks; increase the minimum lot size in forest agricultural zones from a half-acre to 10 acres; add a new mixed residential-business zone; clarify family size restrictions; require stronger road connectivity between neighboring business lots; add a tiny house designation; introduce rules in the building code to require more protection from wind and storms; raise the requirement that floors be set 1 foot above flood level to 2 feet; introduce a historic preservation ordinance for old buildings; and create divergent design standards for the mainland and St. Simons Island.
In other business, the commission:
• Received an update from Bill Ross with impact fee consulting firm Ross and Associates on the impact fee development process and set a target for a final vote in late November or early December.
• Was asked by Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia to sponsor an application for a government grant, which would be used to expand the charity’s food storage warehouse, located near the Brunswick-Golden Isles Airport, from 5,000 to 20,000 square feet. Applying for the grant will not cost anything.
• Was informed Republic Services is no longer accepting glass and that glass recycling needs to be removed from the county’s contract with the solid waste disposal company. Public Works Director Dave Austin provided the commission with some alternatives to Republic.
• Heard an update from Lashonda Billue with the county’s revenue study committee on proposed changes to park and EMS fees.