Planning Commission member files due process appeal in regards to ‘extended stay’

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BANKS COUNTY, Ga. – The Banks County Planning Commission met Tuesday, June 7 at the usual Banks County Courthouse Annex Boardroom. Alongside the usual approvals of the agenda and minutes, they discussed the discrepancies in the controversial approval process of the ‘extended stay’ hotel.

Also, the Board members discussed and recommended the use of currently existing software and equipment to record their own meetings for posterity.

Planning Commission member Sam Moon said, in cases of hesitancy or problems that have arisen, that they should utilize the opportunity to stop, identify the problems, or even table it for further discussion before recommendation.

“This is a tool we have available until the state of Georgia tells me we don’t have it available,” Moon said.

Vice Chairman Taylor Griffith cited the Georgia Open Meetings Act and requested clarification from a lawyer regarding what they are and are not allowed to do.

Much of this stems from the situation regarding the differences in presentation from Planning Commission to Board of Commissioners. Citizens are concerned with the land-use, but the hotel was approved as discussed here.

Click here to see the original Planning Commission story on the issue.

This is all important discussion because when the Planning Commission recommends something, there is a delay before it gets to the Board of Commissioners.

If the BOC approves the land-use change, then it is approved and development is allowed. Sloppy approval of zoning can lead to many issues, whether those be crime, traffic, EMS service availability, etc.

Griffith has taken up issue with the application process of the hotel.

“…There should be zero tolerance for not meeting the standards of the law when it comes to informing the public. The most recent example of this failure to comply with these legally binding requirements is in the case of the Conditional Use Application for an Extended Stay Hotel in Banks Crossing. The point of this writing is not to hash out the merits of extended stay hotels, but rather to inform you of the ways in which you, a Banks County Citizen, are often given inaccurate information, or even no information at all. As a member of the Banks County Planning Board, I received an original copy of the conditional use application that plainly stated “Extended Stay Prototype” in the line for intended use…Banks County Code clearly requires that the intended conditional use must be stated in the required Public Hearing Notice that is prepared by the county. Also below, you will find an image of the Public Hearing Notice that omits “Extended Stay”. This is a direct violation of a code that requires Banks County to accurately inform you of a Public Hearing that you have a Constitutional Right to be heard at,” stated Griffith in a social media posted.

He has filed a due process appeal at the County Zoning Office. He believes the application should have never been presented to the Planning Board in the first place due to the lack of proper notice for a Public Hearing.

You can see his Facebook post with images of the code and applications here.


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