FORM BASED UNIFIED DEVELOPMENT CODE – UPDATING THE CODES THAT BUILD THOMASVILLE’S BUILDINGS, STREETS AND PUBLIC SPACES

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Earlier this month, the City of Thomasville hosted a series of public meetings to gather input from local citizens, businesses and organizations on some of the challenges our community faces with our existing Land Development Codes. Consultants Dover, Kohl & Partners facilitated the meetings and will guide Thomasville through the revision process, which is expected to be completed later this year. According to Kenny Thompson, City Planner, the new Development Ordinances will be written in a form that is comprehensive, straight forward, easily understood and illustrated with the extensive use of graphics to make it easy for the public and staff to interpret and use.

“Ultimately, we hope to have one unified ordinance that will help eliminate conflicting regulations, streamline the approval process and make what is allowed to be built more understandable and in keeping with the desires of our community,” said Thompson.

Thompson shared that the need for an updated Land Development code came after a code audit was performed in 2017. “From here, we became aware of the overall needs of our current codes, including those items that could be considered urgent fixes as well as items that may require long term consideration,” he said. “This was the basis for helping us to determine where we needed to go from here to bring some consistency to these important development codes.”

During the January workshops, staff met with community stakeholders to share ideas related to the City’s development code. Using public and staff input, Dover, Kohl and Partners helped to establish target items for revisions and changes

Thompson said that the January workshop generated a list of top ten changes that will need to be addressed. “Dover, Kohl and Partners will continue to work with us on these updates over the next several months to develop a first draft of our new Land Development Codes,” said Thompson.

Participants in the January workshops had praise for the process and look forward to the finished product.

“It is great that the City of Thomasville is allowing professionals in our community to be involved in the code update process,” said Matt Dukes, owner of Stony Creek Landscaping “It will benefit businesses, citizens and the City to have the feedback and the information gathered at the workshops incorporated into the new code.”

Thompson said that once completed, a second code workshop will be held in May to present the draft to the community and gather additional input. The new Development Ordinances will then be presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council for approval. The project is expected to be complete by December of this year.