McDuffie County Departments

Planning

McDuffie County Land Development (Zoning) Ordinance
McDuffie County Zoning Map
City of Thomson Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance
City of Thomson Zoning Map
Subdivisions – County
Subdivisions - City
McDuffie County Subdivision Ordinance
City of Thomson Subdivision Ordinance
City of Thomson Sign Standards
Floodplain Administration – County
Floodplain Administration – City 
McDuffie County Alcohol Beverage Ordinance


The major component of the planning process is the administration of the Land Development Code, Subdivision Ordinance, and other associated planning regulations for each jurisdiction.

McDuffie County:

Land Development Code (Zoning)
Subdivision Regulations
Floodplain Administration
Usry Pond Watershed Protection Ordinance
Building and Building Regulations


McDuffie County Land Development Code (Zoning)
Land use regulations began in McDuffie County with the creation of the county Planning Commission in the spring of 1986. At that time, although reasonably comprehensive in scope, the regulations did not include a key element in guiding the compatibility of land uses. Obviously, that element was - Zoning. Due to the actual and anticipated increase in growth within the county beginning in the mid-1990’s it became evident that zoning must be included in order to establish and guide the development and compatible land uses. The McDuffie County Board of Commissioners adopted the county’s Land Development Code which included zoning. The McDuffie County Land Development Code (zoning) (Re: Chapter 44) is available online for your convenience. The McDuffie County Zoning Map is available as an attached reference.

You will note that the ordinance is divided into “Articles” containing important elements of zoning. Some of the key elements are:

    • Article III: Contains a listing of land uses by zoning district which are automatically permitted. In addition, there are “special exception” uses which may be conditionally permitted after board review. Uses that are not listed within the district are not permitted, but may be consider by special application to the Planning Commission Board. Also included in Article III are several overlay zones which impose additional considerations, guidelines, and restrictions in addition to those imposed by the guidelines of the underlying zoning district.
    • Article V: Contains Development Standards which specify the minimum requirements for development. These requirements include, among others: minimum lot size, maximum unit density, minimum road frontage, minimum front and side setbacks for principle and accessory structures, minimum parking requirements, and special standard for certain specified uses which might generate negative impact on surrounding uses. Regulations governing signs and the establishment of home based businesses (“cottage industries”) are included in this article.

Planning Commission Board (County)
The County Planning Commission Board was created with the adoption of the county’s first Land Use Ordinance and continued with the adoption of the Land Development (Zoning) Ordinance in March of 1999. The “Board” consists of five members appointed by the Board of Commissioners for three (3) year terms. The primary purpose of the Board is to conduct zoning hearings on applications for zoning changes, special exception/conditional use reviews, variance/relief from ordinance provisions, subdivision review, and text amendments. Upon conclusion of the zoning hearing a Board recommendation is forwarded to the Board of Commissioners for final review and disposition.

Planning Commission Board Meetings (County)
The county Planning Commission Board meets monthly on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted by advertisement in the local newspaper, and provided that there is an agenda to be addressed. All meetings are advertised in the local newspaper and a sign indicating the application placed at/on the subject property approximately thirty days prior to the meeting date. Anyone wishing to make application to the Planning Commission Board should contact the Planning Commission office as soon as possible to schedule a preliminary consultation prior to the submittal of any application. Deadlines for application are approximately thirty-five (35) days prior to the actual Planning Commission Board meeting date. Contact the Planning Commission for deadline dates. Meetings are held in room 1119 in the City–County Administrative building of the Government Services Center, 210 Railroad Street, Thomson, Ga. 30824 and are open to the public. The public is encouraged to attend. If you are unable to attend you are encouraged to forward written comments regarding the application to the McDuffie County Planning Commission, P.O. Box 7, Thomson, Ga. 30824. Written comments will be distributed to the board members at the meeting.

Subdivision Regulations (County)
Due to an increase in subdivision developments, and to institute more comprehensive regulations addressing the design and development of subdivisions in McDuffie County, including residential, commercial, and industrial subdivision, the Board of Commissioners adopted new subdivision regulations in the June of 2007. The new Subdivision Regulations (Re: Chapter 74) are available online for your convenience. Anyone interested in subdivision development in McDuffie County should first reference the online subdivision regulations indicated above, then contact the Planning Commission for additional information and assistance.

Floodplain Administration (County)
McDuffie County has been a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program, commonly referred to as “FEMA Flood Insurance”, since July of 1998. This program, by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was established to detect and map bodies of water (rivers, streams, ponds and lakes), areas of water drainage, and low lying areas which are susceptible to flooding. Anyone wishing to build any structure within a designated floodplain must comply with McDuffie County and FEMA requirements designed to mitigate flood damage. To obtain information on the location of FEMA designated flood hazard areas please contact the Planning Commission or go online to the “FEMA Map Service Center” and under the heading “What are you looking for?” in the center of the page, click on “Flood Maps”. The Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance (Re: Chapter 36) is available online for your convenience.

Usry Pond Watershed Protection Ordinance (County)
Thomson and McDuffie County use two sources to obtain water for treatment and use as potable (drinkable) water, Clarks Hill Lake and Usry Pond. In order to protect the water quality from these two sources the Usry Pond Watershed Protection Ordinance was adopted in February, 1998. The ordinance contains protective regulations including the prohibition of the establishment of certain types of land uses within the Usry Pond watershed, and regulates the location of the placement of waste water structures (septic tanks) in close proximity to the pond. Land uses and placement of waste water treatment structures in the watershed are monitored by permit by the Planning Commission.


City of Thomson:

Zoning and Zoning Regulations
Subdivision Regulations
Sign Ordinance
Floodplain Administration
Building and Building Regulations

City of Thomson Zoning Ordinance:
The City of Thomson began their land development regulations with the adoption of a zoning ordinance in June of 1986. As previously referenced, the city contracted with the county to administer the city’s ordinance through the county Planning Commission. Although most zoning procedures such as an application for a zoning change are similar to the county’s procedure, the specific zoning regulations (ordinance) and, for example, the meeting dates and times for the city are different. Please be sure to confirm that the property under consideration is located on the county or city. If you are not sure, please call the Planning Commission for confirmation. The city’s Zoning Ordinance (Re: Chapter 22) is online for your convenience. The City of Thomson County Zoning Map is available as an attached reference.

Should you have any questions regarding zoning within the City of Thomson, please contact the Planning Commission

Planning Commission Board (City)
The City of Thomson Planning Commission Board was created with the adoption of the city’s adoption of their zoning regulations in June 1986. The city’s “Board” consists of five members appointed by the Mayor and Council for five (5) year terms. The primary purpose of the Board is to conduct zoning hearings on applications for zoning changes, special exception/conditional use reviews, variances from, or relief from ordinance provisions, conduct subdivision reviews, and text amendments. Upon conclusion of the zoning hearing a Board recommendation is forwarded to the Mayor and Council for final review and disposition.

Planning Commission Board Meetings (City)
The city Planning Commission Board meets monthly on the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted by advertisement in the local newspaper, and provided that there is an agenda to be addressed. All meetings are advertised in the local newspaper and a sign indicating the application placed at/on the subject property approximately thirty days prior to the meeting date. Anyone wishing to make application to the Planning Commission Board should contact the Planning Commission office as soon as possible to schedule a preliminary consultation prior to the submittal of any application. Deadlines for application are approximately thirty-five (35) days prior to the actual Planning Commission Board meeting date. Contact the Planning Commission for deadline dates. Meetings are held in room 1119 in the City–County Administrative building of the Government Services Center, 210 Railroad Street, Thomson, Ga. 30824 and are open to the public. The public is encouraged to attend. If you are unable to attend you are encouraged to forward written comments regarding the application to the McDuffie County Planning Commission, P.O. Box 7, Thomson, Ga. 30824. Written comments will be distributed to the board members at the meeting.

Subdivision Regulations (City)
Upon the adoption of the county’s Subdivision Regulations in June of 2007 it was recommended that the city follow suit in order to have a more comprehensive ordinance similar to the county’s subdivision regulation. As with the county’s regulation, the city’s regulation also addresses the design and development of subdivisions in the City of Thomson, including residential, commercial, and industrial subdivisions. The City of Thomson Subdivision Regulations (Re: Chapter 19) are available online for your convenience. Anyone interested in subdivision development in McDuffie County should first reference the online subdivision regulations indicated above then contact the Planning Commission for additional information and assistance.

Sign Ordinance (City)
Signs are a vital source of advertising for businesses and events. It is also recognized that signs can be a distraction and a public hazard if not properly regulated. In order to comprehensively regulate signs the City of Thomson passed an updated sign ordinance in June of 2009 which sets forth new requirements relating to sign design, placement, dimensions, and number. The new City of Thomson Sign Standards are included for your reference.

Floodplain Administration (City)
The City of Thomson became a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program, commonly referred to as “FEMA Flood Insurance”, through a cooperative agreement with the county as adopted in September 2010. This program, by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was established to detect and map bodies of water (rivers, streams, ponds and lakes), areas of water drainage, and low lying areas which are susceptible to flooding. The city has limited FEMA designated flood hazard areas. The two area designated are in the Jones Road/Norris School area, and the Whites Creek area to the west of the Shadowmoor Subdivision. Anyone wishing to build any structure within a designated floodplain must comply with the City of Thomson and FEMA requirements designed to mitigate flood damage. To obtain information on the location of FEMA designated flood hazard areas in the City of Thomson, please contact the Planning Commission or go online to the “FEMA Map Service Center” and under the heading “What are you looking for?”, in the center of the page, click on “Flood Maps”. The city’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance is currently not online, however a hardcopy or pdf. copy may be obtained through the Planning Commission.

Building and Building Regulations
For detailed information on obtaining development permits, forms, and review and approval procedures, please refer to the Planning Commission section of the Business & Development tab at the top of the opening web page.


David Jenkins

Director
Phone: 706-595-5355


210 Railroad Street
Thomson, Georgia 30824