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Covington council agrees to revisit Single-Family Home Construction Design
City Hall - Covington

COVINGTON, Ga. — Covington’s Planning Commission is looking to update an ordinance for new home construction design. The city council unanimously approved a request from Director of Planning & Zoning Judy Johnson to initiate a text amendment to Chapter 16.20 supplemental use provisions, Section 16.20.235 dwelling, single-family detached. 

The current ordinance from 2022 governs the designs of single-family homes with the intent of creating a community with character and solid standards. 

“Now that the ordinance has been in place long enough, there are some items that need to be revisited,” Johnson said.

The request comes as the council modified a Feb 7 Historic Preservation Commission decision limiting the number of repeated home designs Quinn Residences Q. Dorchester, LLC can build in the Dorchester Place subdivision. The commission allowed five repeated homes, while the developer requested nine.

CFO of Quinn Residences James Howley appealed for seven repeated homes, stating he would dismiss litigation with the city if the council approved. Litigation, Howley said, was costing everyone in the room. 

“It’s also costing you foregone property tax revenue that you would have from a completed home not as compared to a vacant lot,” Howley said. 

After a brief executive session, the council unanimously approved the appeal for seven repeated homes. The city council also approved two final platts for 102 lots in the Neely Farms Subdivision and the final plat for The Reserves at Jackson Highway, which will contain 102 lots.

During Monday night’s meeting, council members approved a first reading of an ordinance to amend Section 13.12.090 electric vehicle fast charging tariff. 

The amendment would increase the charging rate at electric vehicle charging stations located in Town Center and establish rates for the charging stations behind the Newton County Courthouse and Covington’s welcome center. 

The amendment would also create an idling fee for vehicles parked at a charging station after charging. According to Electric Administration Manager Brandon Cole the change is needed. 

“This change in the ordinance would also allow us to make monthly changes in response to unexpected wholesale energy cost fluctuations,” Cole said. 

Council member Charika Davis voted against the ordinance.

Other Discussions:

Council members approved an increase of the City of Covington water rate to $0.05 per 1,000 gallons. The Newton County Board of Commissioners increased the price the city has to pay for water, so the city is increasing its price as well. Council members Davis and Anthony Henderson voted against. 

The council also approved a contract renewal with the city’s residential solid waste contractor, Latham Home Sanitation Co. Inc., for an additional five years. The renewal will also prevent a cost-of-living increase until 2025. Council members Davis and Henderson voted against the renewal. 

Council members approved an additional charge needed to complete Welcome Center parking lot improvements as well. According to Peach State Construction, it will take an additional $25,428.20 to correct drainage system issues. The added cost puts the project over the original budgeted amount, but the funding will come out of the visitor and tourism product development fund. 

Lastly, the council approved a memorandum of agreement with Northeast Georgia Regional Commission to write and submit a grant. The Community Development Block Grant Redevelopment Fund would allow the city to rehabilitate the Historic Conyers Street Gym.

Final Readings:

  • Amendment of Sec. 12.190 Special Events Permits was approved unanimously.
  • Amendment of Sec. 16.08.010 and Sec. 16.16.020, which clarify the permitted uses and definitions of businesses. It was approved with Davis and Henderson voting against; council member Jared Rutberg recused himself.
  • Amendment of Sec. 2.08.030 Decorum. The addition sets standards for conduct and behavior. It also outlines punishments. The council approved the amendment with Davis voting against.