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January 10, 2014

Suwannee County catalyst site zoning Q&As

“By right” ordinance applies to entire site

Live Oak —

In July 2013, the Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance that would amend the Land Development Regulations that will permit various types of industries to locate on the catalyst site in Western Suwannee County without having to obtain a special permit from the county. 

Since then, the “by right” amendment has caused concerns regarding the public’s right to say which industries locate in their county. Concerned citizens have often asked how this ordinance affects them and the catalyst site. The Democrat has answers to these questions. 

How big is the catalyst site?

The catalyst site is approximately 500 acres in size.

What zones are located on the catalyst site?

According to Planning and Zoning Director Ron Meeks, only two zoning districts exist within the catalyst site. One hundred acres located on the southwestern side first purchased by the county is zoned as industrial. The industrial zone is divided by a county maintained dirt road with property zoned industrial on both sides. The remaining property, approximately 400 acres in size, is zoned Agricultural 1. 

Which zones are affected by the “by right” ordinance?

The “by right” policy applies to both Industrial and agricultural zoned districts. The ordinance also included commercial highway zone to accommodate existing property adjacent to the catalyst site, should the state decide to expand the catalyst site. The property is located in the direction of the US 90/I-10 interchange. Should the state expand the catalyst site, it would also be covered under the “by right” ordinance. 

The “by right” ordinance is limited to the catalyst site only.

Which industries are accepted without obtaining a special permit or exception?

There are different types of businesses that could open their doors at the catalyst site without having to receive a special permit from the county. Under LDR-13-16, these businesses include, but not limited to: all agricultural activities, single family dwellings, churches and other houses of worship, cemeteries, public schools or private schools, automotive service and self-service stations, automotive rental services, restaurants, hotels and motels and light manufacturing, assembling, processing, packaging or fabricating in a completely enclosed building. Different types of businesses that would now be permitted without obtaining a special permit included race tracks and industries that could submit hazardous chemicals into the environment. 

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