By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Dawson County’s moratorium extended again for large-scale residential rezoning applications
Dawson County courthouse

Dawson County’s moratorium on residential rezoning applications was extended for another three months following a unanimous 4-0 vote by the Board of Commissioners on Nov. 17. 

The moratorium bars the acceptance of residential town, RS-2, RS-3, RPC, C-PCD, RMF, residential manufactured home park and mixed-use village applications until Feb. 17, 2023.

As with before, District 3 Commissioner Tim Satterfield asked if individual manufactured home applications would still be impacted by the moratorium. 

BOC Chairman Billy Thurmond confirmed that individuals would be eligible to request rezones, explaining that the manufactured classification is intended for a park and not a single home. 

At the board’s Nov. 3 voting session, multiple board members said they’d received calls from single-residence applicants whose rezoning requests had gotten caught up in the moratorium. 

“I don't think that was the intention of the board when we did this. Those are not the people that are eating up our service delivery,” Thurmond said on Nov. 3. 

“They’re dealing with interest rates, too, killing them,” Satterfield added at that time. “They can’t lock in because we can’t tell them anything.”

Before November, the board had also extended the moratorium on Aug. 4. Board members initially voted to adopt the measure on July 7, with the intent being to have it in place while an updated county impact fee study was underway. 

Dawson County’s impact fees were last updated in 2018. In August, a consultant was retained to conduct the study. 

At the Nov. 17 meeting, Planning and Development Director Sharon Farrell shared that she and her staff hope to meet with the consultant right after Thanksgiving. There are also multiple proposed changes to nuisance ordinances that will hopefully be before the Dawson County Planning Commission in December for a public hearing, Farrell added. 

Also in the works is a sunset clause proposed by Dawson County’s Long Range Planning Committee. Essentially, if a developer was to buy land and nothing happened with the property for a set period of time, it would revert to its previous classification and need to go through the public hearing process again in order to be rezoned. 

During the BOC’s Oct. 20 work session, county attorney Angela Davis explained that because vested property rights have to be considered, notice would have to be provided to a landowner to pursue a zoning reversal. That way, the owner could have the chance to explain their situation and current intention with the land, either informally or as part of a public hearing. 

Initially, the long range committee suggested applying this to residential planned community (RPC) zoning.

However, on Oct. 20, the commissioners also expressed interest in possibly applying the clause to applications for larger-scale housing and commercial developments. 

“I think it’s definitely something that we need to look into…and just get it to where we’re not having to look at every rezoning in two years and just get it narrowed down to do what we want it to do without putting a whole bunch of work on staff,” said BOC Vice Chair and District 4 Chairman Emory Dooley. 

Tax digest

In related news, Dawson County has won the appeal related to its 2021 property tax digest, according to a statement from the county’s law firm, Jarrard & Davis. 

This decision follows a meeting between the county’s Board of Tax Assessors and the State’s Department of Audits and Accounts regarding the appeal. 

Previously, the Department of Audits asserted through a study that the county had undervalued its properties from a tax assessment perspective. 

“The state determined that the county’s overall average assessment ratio was 37.69%,” the law firm’s statement said. “Per Department of Revenue regulation, if the overall average assessment ratio is less than 36%, the state must assess the county additional state tax.  As a result of Dawson County’s appeal, the county will not be assessed additional tax.”