Infill Regulations (Topic 1)

Section 507. Use of Substandard Lots of Record

507.1    No permit shall be issued for the use of any lot which is smaller in total area than the minimum area permitted for the zoning district within which it is located or for the use of any lot which has a lot width that is less than the minimum lot width permitted for the zoning district within which it is located, unless said lot is a lot of record and was legally and properly recorded prior to the passage of this Ordinance on February 1, 1966. However, this requirement shall not apply to re-subdivisions pursuant to Section 802(c) of the Subdivision Regulations of Glynn County, Georgia; and provided further that in Residential Districts, substandard lots shall be used only for single-family residential purposes.

However, in all cases, construction on any such lot, after the time of passage of this Ordinance, shall be required to meet all other requirements of the district within which it is located, including front yard setbacks, side yards, rear yards, and others.

507.2    Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary in this Zoning Ordinance, a one-family dwelling is permitted on a substandard lot of record with less than six-thousand (6,000) square feet of lot area or a lot width of less than sixty (60) feet in a residential zoning district, subject to the following provisions:

(a)       If the lot area is fifty percent (50%) or less than the minimum lot area under the applicable zoning district regulations or if the lot width is fifty percent (50%) or less than the minimum lot width required under the applicable zoning district regulations, said dwelling shall have no more than one and one half (1½) stories as illustrated below, and the maximum height shall not exceed twenty-two (22) feet above the base flood elevation. The total number of sleeping rooms in a one-family dwelling under this Section 507.2(a) shall not exceed two (2).

(b)       If the lot area is greater than fifty percent (50%), but less than seventy-five percent (75%) of the minimum lot area required under the applicable zoning district regulations, or if the lot width is greater than fifty percent (50%), but less than seventy-five percent (75%) of the minimum lot width required under the applicable zoning district regulations, said dwelling shall have no more than one and one half (1½) stories as illustrated below, and the maximum height shall not exceed twenty-five (25) feet above the base flood elevation. The total number of sleeping rooms in a one-family dwelling under this Section 507.2(b) shall not exceed three (3).

(c)        If the lot area is seventy-five percent (75%) or greater, but less than ninety-four percent (94%) of the minimum lot area required under the applicable zoning district regulations or if the lot width is seventy-five percent (75%) or greater, but less than ninety-four percent (94%) of the minimum lot width required under the applicable zoning district regulations, said dwelling shall have no more than one and one half (1½) stories as illustrated below, and the maximum height shall not exceed twenty-eight (28) feet above the base flood elevation. The total number of sleeping rooms in a one-family dwelling under this Section 507.2(c) shall not exceed four (4).

(d)       If the lot area is ninety-four percent (94%) or greater, but less that one hundred percent (100%) of the minimum lot area required under the applicable zoning district regulations, or if the lot width is ninety-four percent (94%) or greater, but less than one hundred percent (100%) of the minimum lot width required under the applicable zoning district regulations, said dwelling shall have no more than two (2) stories as illustrated below, and the maximum height shall not exceed thirty-two (32) feet above the base flood elevation.

(e)        Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in subsections 507.2 (a) through (d) and subsection 507.2(f), if the lot area is one hundred percent (100%) or greater than the minimum lot area required under the applicable zoning district regulations and the lot width is eighty-five percent (83%) or greater than the minimum lot width required under the applicable zoning district regulations, said dwelling may have up to the same number of stories, maximum height, and sleeping rooms as a one-family dwelling located on a non-substandard lot of record in that same zoning district.

(f)         In the event that the lot area and lot width of a substandard lot of record causes it to meet the criteria of more than one of the subsections in 507.2 (a) through (d), the more restrictive subsection and development requirements therein shall apply to any one-family dwelling constructed on that substandard lot of record. This requirement shall not apply to a one-family dwelling constructed on a substandard lot of record that meets the criteria set forth in subsection 507.2(e).

(g)       A lawfully existing one-family dwelling that becomes nonconforming as a result of the adoption of this Section 507.2 on June 16, 2016, and which becomes damaged or destroyed by fire, flood, storm, or other act of God, may be repaired or rebuilt to the same height, square footage, and number of stories, bedrooms, and bathrooms without meeting the requirements of this Section 507.2, provided that: (1) the property owner provides documentation to the Glynn County Community Development Director demonstrating that the building or development lawfully existed at the time of adoption of this Section 507.2; (2) a building permit has been applied for and issued by Glynn County for the repair or reconstruction of such one-family dwelling within one year from the date that it was damaged or destroyed; and 3) the repair or reconstruction of such one-family dwelling commences within one year from the date that it was damaged or destroyed. This provision shall not be construed to excuse or exempt compliance with any building code, electrical code, fire code, life safety code, or other safety ordinance or regulation.

(h)        This Section 507.2 shall be applicable exclusively to Saint Simons Island.

507.3    Any person denied a permit by the Building Official or other County official under this Section 507 may appeal such decision to the Board of Appeals or request a variance pursuant to Article X of this Ordinance.

507.4  For purposes of this Section 507, substandard lot of record shall mean a lot of record that was legally and properly recorded prior to the passage of this Ordinance on February 1, 1966, with a lot width less than that permitted in the zoning district in which it is located or that is smaller in total area than the minimum area permitted for the zoning district within which it is located.

Sec. 802. Other Expedited Subdivisions

 

(d)       No subdivision described in this subsection shall be permitted in a recorded subdivision zoned single-family residential if the lot to be divided has a development area (as defined in the Zoning Ordinance) of less than one (1) acre. An applicant may not submit such a subdivision for review under the provisions of Article VII of these Regulations. (O-2006-11, 7/20/2006)

(e)        No resubdivision, subdivision, or other change described in these Regulations shall be permitted to any lot on St. Simons Island which is part of an existing subdivision in a residential or Planned Development Zoning District if the lot to be divided has a development area (as defined in the Zoning Ordinance) of one (1) acres or less and that resubdivision or change would permit an increase in the number of individual dwelling units (as defined in Section 302 of the Zoning Ordinance of Glynn County, Georgia) or the density of use that is allowed on that property.  Two or more contiguous lots may not be assembled or combined to create more than one (1) acre under this subsection.  This subsection shall not prevent the vacation of a plat pursuant to section 803 of these Regulations.

Home-Based Businesses (Topic 1)

Section 608. Home Occupations

608.1    Operational Conditions.  A home occupation, as defined in Article III, Section 302, shall be permitted in any residential district provided that such occupation:

a)         Employs at the site, which constitutes the residence no other person than members of the family residing in the principal building at the home occupation site.  The occupation may employ other persons who report to work and conduct activities off site;

b)         Is conducted entirely within the principal building or a non-habitable accessory building provided the combined occupation space utilizes not more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the total floor area of the principal building;

c)         Produces no alteration or change in the character or exterior appearance of the principal building or accessory building(s) from that of a dwelling;

d)         Creates no disturbing or offensive noise, vibration, smoke, dust, odor, heat, glare, traffic hazard, unhealthy or unsightly condition;

e)         Complies with all Glynn County Board of Health rules and regulations as they apply to the home occupation;

f)          Is not visibly evident from outside the dwelling except for one (1) non-illuminated sign one (1) square foot or smaller in size and mounted against a wall of the principal building;

g)         Meets the provisions for off-street parking in accordance with Section 611.  When a home occupation is begun and upon request by the Community Development Department, but in no case more often than annually, the property owner shall submit a plan showing how much space or lot area will be used in connection with the home occupation and where parking spaces would be located;

h)         Prohibits non-family member employees from parking more than two (2) vehicles, each with a gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds, both on the site and in the residentially-zoned areas immediately surrounding the site;

i)          As used in this Section, the term family and member of the family residing on the premises includes any living person who is a brother, sister, mother, father, husband, wife or child of any family member residing on the premises;

j)          Any home occupation operated in conformity with this Ordinance for a period of ten (10) years or more prior to October 3, 1996 may be continued so long as the operator owns the residence and operates the business continuously without regard to the actual residence of the operator;

k)         Stores all supplies, materials, support equipment, etc. within the current setbacks of the zoning district the site is located in and prohibits storage of said items in the front yard of the principal residence.  The business will be required to install buffer fencing sufficient to block the view of the storage area unless the home occupation site exceeds an acre in size; and

l)          Prohibits deliveries of supplies, materials, products, mailings, etc. between 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. daily.  Additionally, deliveries of supplies, materials, equipment (other than initial installation and/or replacement), etc., utilizing any service vehicle larger than a single rear axle uni-body vehicle is prohibited.

608.2    Occupations Excluded.  Notwithstanding the above enumerated conditions, restaurants, rest homes, florist, tourist courts, pawn shops, convalescent homes serving more than six (6) tenants and auto repair garages shall not be considered home occupations and are specifically excluded.

Relocating Historic Houses (Topic 1)

Section 621. House Moving Requirements

Any person, firm or corporation desiring to move any house or structure over the roads of Glynn County shall be required to receive approval from the Glynn County Building Inspector.  An application and fee shall be filed with the Building Inspector at least two weeks prior to the proposed move.  In addition, the following provisions shall apply:

a)         A sign shall be posted on the property where the house or structure is to be relocated at least ten (10) days prior to the scheduled move.  The sign shall list the date of proposed move, telephone number of the Building Inspector, and advise that any citizen has the right to appeal the proposed relocation.

b)         Upon completion of the move and the subsequent renovation, the value of the house shall be equal to at least 80% of the average assessed value of property within the immediate vicinity having a single-family classification.  The Glynn County Board of Tax Assessors will determine this value.

The house after relocation and renovations shall contain the number of square feet of living area at least equal to 80% of the number of square feet of living area of that of adjoining single-family residences.  The house and property shall also comply with any existing subdivision covenants or restrictions.

c)         If extensive rehabilitation is necessary to the structure to be moved, a performance bond, letter of credit or cash bond in favor of Glynn County shall be required to insure satisfactory compliance.

d)         The structure shall be required to meet all current Building Code requirements prior to receiving a Certificate of Occupancy.

e)         Aggrieved citizens or those adversely affected by such an application for the relocation of a house or structure shall have the right to appeal in writing the grant of a house moving permit to the Board of Commissioners.  In the event of an appeal, a sign shall be posted on the property advising of the time, date and location of the hearing.

f)          The Building Inspector shall have the option in exercise of his discretion to refer any application to the Board of Commissioners for action.  In such an event, a sign shall be posted on the property advising the time, date and location of the hearing.

Light Pollution Regulations (Topic 2)

622.1 Purpose and intent. It is the purpose of this Section to establish standards regarding exterior lighting for development and to minimize adverse visual impacts upon adjacent properties and drivers of vehicles. Lighting is not intended to be used as advertising or to draw attention to the building, grounds, or uses associated with such building. This Section is applicable for all exterior lighting and lighting within parking garage structures when visible from the outside of the building. (O-2008-10, 7/17/2008)

622.2 Exemptions. Single-family residential homes and temporary seasonal lights shall be exempt from these requirements so long as any site lighting does not create adverse light spillover or glare on adjacent residential properties or rights-of-way. (O-2008-10, 7/17/2008)

622.3 Requirements.

(a) All exterior lights shall be arranged and installed so that the direct or reflected illumination does not exceed five-tenths foot candle above background, measured at the lot line of any adjoining residential district, residential portion of a PD, recorded single family subdivision in a FA district or any street right-of-way.

(b) Off-site light spillover shall not produce a glare which creates a safety or traffic hazard.

(c) All lighting fixtures designed or placed so as to illuminate any portion of a site shall meet the following requirements:

(1) All lighting fixtures (luminaries) shall be cutoff luminaries whose source is completely concealed with an opaque housing capable of shielding the light source from direct view from any adjoining residential property or public right-of-way. Fixtures shall be recessed in the opaque housing. Drop dish refractors are prohibited.

(2) Only LED, incandescent, fluorescent, metal halide, mercury vapor, or color corrected high-pressure sodium (CRI of 60 or better) light source may be used.

(3) Fixtures must be mounted in such a manner that the cone of the light is not directed at any property line of the site. The maximum mounting height for a pole is thirty-five (35) feet.

(4) All site lighting shall be designed so that the maximum levels of illumination as measured in foot-candles (f-c) at any one point meets the following standards.

ILLUMINATION LEVELS (IN FOOT-CANDLES)

Location of Type of Lighting  Maximum Level (A)
Non-residential and Multifamily Residential Parking Lots 10.0
Service station canopy (B) 60.0
Parking garage 60.0
Landscaped Areas 5.0

(A) Level of illumination is not to exceed the calculated value, and is derived using only the area of the site included to receive illumination. Points of measure, in foot candles at points located on a ten-foot center grid, shall not include the area of the building or areas which do not lend themselves to pedestrian traffic.

(B) A light meter sensor shall be read at ground level or the established grade in a horizontal position. Readings shall be taken only after the light source has been exposed long enough to provide a constant reading. Measurements shall be taken after dark with the light sources to be measured on and subsequently off. The difference of the two readings shall be compared to the permitted illumination level for each lighting zone.

(C) The standards shall only apply under the service station canopy and up to 15 feet from the outside edge of the canopy. Canopy light fixtures, shall be aimed downward and shall be fully recessed or fully shielded so as to ensure that the light fixture is not visible from public rights-of-way or adjacent properties and does not cause glare. All light emitted by an under-canopy fixture shall be substantially confined to the ground surface directly beneath the perimeter of the canopy. As an alternative to recessed lighting, indirect lighting may be used when light is directed upward and then reflected down from the underside of the canopy. In this case, light fixtures shall be shielded so that direct illumination is focused exclusively on the underside of the canopy. No lighting shall be permitted on the top or sides of the canopy, excluding internally-illuminated signs.

(D) Strings of lights or other similar accent lighting may be installed on trees and landscaping and on buildings below the roofline provided:

(i) Strings of lights shall not be suspended horizontally between any buildings, walls, fences, trees, or shrubs.

(ii) Strings of light shall contain only low wattage clear bulbs (less than 100 lumens) without interior or exterior frosting, colors, or reflectors.

(iii) Flag poles. A flag pole may be illuminated by fully-shielded spotlight light fixture or fixtures which shall not create off-site glare or light spillover above the established limits. The light fixture(s) shall be placed as close to the base of the flag pole as possible. (O-2008-10, 7/17/2008)

622.4 Prohibited Lighting. The following types of permanent outdoor light fixtures are prohibited:

(a) Blinking, flashing, moving, revolving, flickering, changing color or intensity, and chase lighting.

(b) Any light fixture that may be confused with or construed as a traffic control device.

(c) Laser-source light fixtures.

(d) Any lamp or bulb not within a light fixture (except for seasonal, accent, or landscape ornamental lighting) visible beyond the property line on which it is located.

(e) Exposed or visible rare gas light tubing.

(f) Upward-aimed unshielded lights projecting into the sky without interception by eaves, roofs, or overhangs.

(g) Flood lights, security lighting, or similar equipment, whether or not wall-mounted, directed toward any residential district or subdivision. (O-2008-10, 7/17/2008)

622.5 Enforcement. Lighting installation and compliance is the full responsibility of the property owner. Upon receipt of a complaint regarding lighting, a study will be conducted and if the site is determined not to be in compliance with these requirements, the owner will be required to present and implement corrective measures. If the owner fails to make corrective measures, then Building Official shall be authorized to suspend or revoke the Certificate of Occupancy. (O-2008-10, 7/17/2008)

Beach Lighting Regulations (Topic 2)

It is the intent of this section that beachfront lighting not disturb or disorient nesting or hatching sea turtles. To meet this intent, during the nesting and hatching season (May 1 – October 31), the following criteria shall apply to all public and private artificial exterior lights within direct line of sight of the beach:

1) Such lights shall not directly illuminate areas of the beach seaward of the primary dune or seawall/revetment, and

2) The bulb, fluorescent tube, lamp or other source of light from such lights shall be shielded so that it is not directly visible from the beach.

3) The use of safety and security lights shall be limited to the minimum number to achieve their functional roles and where practical shall be shielded from the beach. In those cases where safety and security lights cannot be shielded from the beach, then low pressure sodium lamps or other light sources which have been shown through experiments not to attract sea turtle hatchlings shall be used with the concurrence of the County Building Inspector and property owner.

4) Property owners and lessees, if any, not in compliance with this Ordinance will be notified in writing by the County of the violation and the steps needed to achieve compliance. Property owners and lessees, if any, not in compliance thirty (30) days after receiving the second notice from the County, or within such longer period agreed to by the County, shall be subject to the enforcement provisions set out in Article IX, Section 907 of the Glynn County Zoning Ordinance or Chapter 2.1.10 of the Glynn County Code of Ordinances.

Tree  Preservation Ordinance (Topic 2)

The short title of this Section is “the Tree Canopy Preservation Ordinance.” Trees provide many environmental, social, and economic benefits. Trees clean the air by absorbing air pollutants and releasing oxygen, reduce storm water runoff and erosion, temper climate, can save energy, create wildlife habitat, provide a visual and physical buffer, provide aesthetic enhancements and contribute to the overall value of real estate. St. Simons Island in particular is recognized and renowned for its tree canopy; especially the mature Southern Live Oaks. Therefore, Glynn County deems it necessary and desirable in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare to enact an ordinance for the primary purpose of the conservation and preservation of trees and for the secondary purposes of planting and replacement of trees, and to prevent the indiscriminate removal of trees on St. Simons Island without denying the reasonable use and enjoyment of property.

101.1 Applicability, Exemptions, and Nonconforming Commercial Developments.

A.       Applicability. It is the goal of Glynn County to achieve and maintain a tree canopy cover of at least 50% on St. Simons Island and to promote the functional distribution of that canopy throughout St. Simons Island. Compliance with the tree canopy cover requirement is achieved by requiring an approved Tree Plan for applicable sites. Applicable sites that are subject to the provisions of the Tree Canopy Preservation Ordinance are property on St. Simons Island:

  1. zoned for any commercial or industrial use (including Planned Development) where development occurs for which a site plan, preliminary plat, expedited subdivision, or land disturbance permit is required;
  2. zoned for residential use (including, but not limited to, mixed use, Forest Agricultural, Resort Residential, and Planned Development) where development occurs for which a site plan, preliminary plat, or land disturbance permit is required;
  3. prior to clearing property or permitting the clearing of property zoned commercial;
  4. prior to clearing property or permitting the clearing of property zoned residential if such residential property is one acre or larger in area;
  5. located in the Village Preservation District where a demolition permit is sought or where development occurs for which a site plan is required; and
  6. where a demolition permit is sought for a building built on, or across, the common lot line(s) of two or more contiguous substandard lots of record. Provided, however, this Section shall not apply if a consolidation plat reducing the number of substandard lots is submitted along with the application for a demolition permit.

B. Exemptions. The following shall be exempt from compliance with the requirements of this Section:

  1. Single family residential standard lots of record appearing on a preliminary plat or final plat approved prior to adoption of this Section. This exemption shall not apply to preliminary plats that are void pursuant to Section 704 of the Glynn County Subdivision Regulations;
  2. Building permits for single family residential property; provided, however that any property located in a subdivision with an approved Tree Plan must abide by the terms of the approved Tree Plan;
  3. Building permits that do not require site plan approval;
  4. Building permits and site plans for existing structures wherein the owner certifies that no trees preserved or planted for tree canopy credit pursuant to any approved Tree Plan will be removed and that no improvements will be placed within the tree protection zone of any tree preserved or planted for tree canopy credit pursuant to any approved Tree Plan;
  5. The portions of golf courses dedicated to playing the game of golf, including out-of-bounds areas and wooded areas between fairways and greens. The portions of a golf course used for clubhouses, pro shops, and other similar structures shall not be exempt;
  6.  The removal of trees on public rights-of-ways (and adjacent areas within the construction limits of rights-of-ways) conducted by, on behalf of, or any activity pursuant to work to be dedicated to, a federal, state, county, municipal or other governmental agency in pursuance of its lawful activities or functions in the construction or improvement of public rights-of-way and the removal or trimming of trees by, or on behalf of, a utility company for the purpose of providing clearance for utility lines. Glynn County trees shall be trimmed in accordance with the requirements of Section 2-16-307 of the Glynn County Code of Ordinances. Trees on public rights-of-way and other Glynn County property are governed by the provisions of Section 2-16-301 et. seq. of the Glynn County Code of Ordinances;
  7. The removal of any tree which, in the opinion of the County Arborist, is a danger to human life or property. Provided, however, that such tree must be replaced if the removal of the tree results in the property falling below the minimum tree canopy required pursuant to any approved Tree Plan;
  8. During the period of any declared state of emergency the requirements of this Section may be waived by the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners or, in the absence of the Chairman, the County Manager. Trees removed or lost during the declared state of emergency must be replaced if the property would fall below the minimum tree canopy requirement absent replacement;
  9. Airport property at the McKinnon St. Simons Island Airport;
  10.  The removal, cutting, or trimming of trees which penetrate, or have the potential to penetrate, aircraft navigation surfaces including, but not limited to: approach, departure, conical, transitional, horizontal, instrument approach, instrument departure surfaces, or any other civil airport imaginary surface required by the Federal Aviation Administration;
  11. Land zoned and primarily used for agriculture or silvaculture;
  12. Plant or tree nurseries or tree farms only in relation to those trees which are planted and growing for sale or intended for sale to the general public in the ordinary course of business; and
  13. The removal of trees from lakes, detention ponds, or drainage easements.

C. Nonconforming Commercial Development. A lawfully existing commercial development that becomes nonconforming as a result of adoption of this Section, or any amendment thereto, shall be considered a nonconforming commercial development for the purposes of this Section. It is recognized that strict compliance with the provisions of this Section may be difficult for nonconforming commercial developments. The following exceptions apply to nonconforming commercial developments:

  1. Alterations to a building or structure, other than those necessitated by an act of God, that require site plan approval, while still requiring an approved Tree Plan, shall only be required to comply with the open soil area requirements of this Section to the extent feasible and practical. This exception shall not apply if the alteration involves changes to 50% or more of the development area of a site; or
  2. Buildings or structures damaged or destroyed by fire, flood, storm, or other act of God may be repaired or rebuilt without an approved Tree Plan and without meeting the open soil area requirements of this Section if: (i) the owner provides documentation to the Community Development Director demonstrating that the commercial development lawfully existed at the time of adoption of the tree canopy requirement(s) herein; (ii) repair or reconstruction commences within two (2) years from the date it was damaged or destroyed; and (iii) the nonconforming development retains or restores and maintains any tree canopy that existed prior to such damage or destruction.Provided, however, that if other requirements reduce the amount of development area utilized for structures, parking, or impermeable surfaces; then such resulting area shall be used to provide open soil area for the growth and maintenance of trees.

D.  Permits issued, plats approved, and site plans approved prior to the adoption of this Section shall not be required to comply with the provisions of this Section unless redevelopment or changes are proposed which would require site plan approval, would require an approved preliminary plat or a new permit, or unless such permit or approval has expired by operation of law or under the terms of the Zoning Ordinance or the Subdivision Regulations.

101.2 Tree Canopy Requirements.

A.  The Tree Canopy Preservation Ordinance requires that all applicable sites maintain a minimum tree canopy. Maintenance of the tree canopy is achieved on applicable sites by (1) requiring that at least 25% of the development area after development be retained as open soil area dedicated to the growth and maintenance of trees and (2) maintaining a minimum tree density of 12 Large Canopy Trees per acre of development area. These requirements must be met whether or not the property had trees prior to development. Open soil areas may be planted with shrubs, groundcover, other plant materials, or mulched but no impervious surfaces will be allowed. The process for calculating the tree canopy requirement for property can be found in Appendix “A”.
B.  Area is measured in square feet. The minimum open soil area shall be calculated by dividing the development area of the property by four.
C.  As detailed in 624.6, Glynn County trees whose structural root zones extend onto applicable sites shall be preserved and the property owner shall receive tree canopy credit for the open soil area located on its property dedicated to the growth and maintenance of the tree.
D.  The area of tree canopy for which credit is given shall always remain as open soil area dedicated to the growth and maintenance of trees and there shall be no other use of the area other than for tree growth. The area shall remain permeable, open soil as required by this Section.
E.  The tree density requirement may be achieved by preserving existing trees, planting new trees, or some combination of both.
F.  Any tree to be preserved or planted for tree canopy credit within any civil airport imaginary surface required by the Federal Aviation Administration including, but not limited to, approach, departure, conical, transitional, horizontal, instrument approach, or instrument departure surfaces, shall not be of a size or species that would penetrate these imaginary surfaces at the general mature height of the tree. Additionally, in accordance with Section 1305 of the Zoning Ordinance, a property owner shall not allow a tree to grow to a height in excess of the height limitations established in Article XIII.
G.  For preliminary plats, expedited subdivisions, and demolition permits for substandard lots of record without a consolidation plat, the tree canopy requirement shall be calculated based upon the overall site and not individual lots. A Tree Plan approved in conjunction with a preliminary plat, expedited subdivision, or demolition permit for substandard lots of record without a consolidation plat shall be binding upon, and applicable to, the owners of the resulting lots.
H.  The tree canopy cover should be distributed throughout the site or lot. Accordingly, trees may be placed in parking lots, in setbacks, in buffers, in common areas, within the side, front, and rear yards of the lot, and on the earthen slopes of storm water detention areas in a manner that will not interfere with the operation of the detention area.
I.   The provisions of this Section regarding open soil area, minimum planting area, and tree protection standards shall only apply to those trees on a site for which the applicant seeks to receive tree canopy credit.

101.3 Measurement of Tree Canopy.

Tree canopy requirements may be met by preserving existing individual trees, preserving groups of individual existing trees, by planting trees, or a combination of preservation and planting. For a tree to be eligible for meeting the tree canopy requirements, its trunk must be growing wholly on that property (with the exception of Glynn County trees) and must be located within the required open soil area. The eligible categories of tree canopy are measured as follows:
A.  The open soil area that is credited to a preserved individual tree or a group of preserved individual trees shall be the actual square footage of the open soil area dedicated to the growth and maintenance of the tree(s). The minimum amount of open soil area for any individual tree or group of trees is 400 square feet. Designation of the critical root zone as the minimum amount of open soil area for a tree is favored and encouraged, but not required, if such area is greater than 400 square feet.

  1. Any existing Large Canopy Tree of six inches DBH or greater retained in good growing condition on the property is eligible for use in meeting the tree canopy requirements. Provided, however, that invasive species and certain non-native trees shall not be eligible for use in meeting the tree canopy requirements. A list of these invasive species and non-native trees shall be kept and maintained by the County Arborist.

B.  The open soil area that is credited to a newly planted tree shall be the actual square foot area of the open soil area dedicated to the growth and maintenance of the tree. The minimum amount of open soil area for any planted tree is 400 square feet. Designation of the critical root zone as the minimum amount of open soil area for a tree is favored and encouraged, but not required, if such area is greater than 400 square feet.

  1. Large Canopy Tree of a selected species from the Glynn County Preferred Species List set forth in Appendix “B” and must be at least six feet tall and two inch caliper or greater.

C.  Preserved Specimen Trees shall be credited with 1.25 times the actual square foot area of the open soil area dedicated to the growth and maintenance of that tree. The minimum amount of open soil area is 400 square feet.
D.   Parking lot trees, meaning trees preserved or planted within the interior portions of parking lots, may be utilized to meet a portion of the tree canopy requirements. Parking lot trees are not required to have the minimum 400 feet of open soil area. The minimum open soil area for parking lot trees is 180 square feet. Parking lot trees may not comprise more than one-third (1/3) of the total number of trees used to meet the tree density requirement.

101.4 Tree Protection Standards.

Trees preserved and/or planted to meet the tree canopy requirements shall be actively protected during development and passively protected throughout the life of the tree. Tree protection zones shall be established prior to commencement of land development activities and maintained for the duration of development for trees preserved or planted to meet the tree canopy requirements.
A.  Active tree protection shall meet the following minimum criteria:

  1. Protective fencing shall be installed at the location of the tree protection zone prior to any development, construction, or land disturbance activity on the property and shall remain in place until construction activities end or a certificate of occupancy is issued, whichever is later.
  2. Tree protection fencing shall be four feet high, high-visibility polypropylene fencing erected with sturdy posts.
  3. The trunks of trees designated for preservation on the Tree Plan shall be encircled with green flagging tape, green surveyor’s tape, or green barricade tape at least two (2) inches in width.
  4. The activities described in subsection 624.5(c) are prohibited within the tree protection zone.
  5. Low hanging limbs that may be damaged by equipment traffic or other construction activity shall be pruned so as to prevent such damage prior to commencement of any development, construction, or land disturbance activity.
  6. When equipment movement is likely to cause damage to tree trunks, the tree trunks shall be wrapped vertically with one layer of two inch by four inch lumber spaced a maximum of 12 inches apart and secured with strapping. The wrapping shall remain in place throughout the time that damage is likely to occur.

B.  Passive tree protection shall require, at a minimum, the avoidance of the activities described in subsection 624.5(c) within the tree protection zone.
C.  The following activities, along with any other activities harmful to a tree’s roots, trunk, or crown are prohibited within the tree protection zone:

  1. Vehicle or equipment traffic, parking, or storage;
  2. Storage of materials or supplies;
  3. Disposal of waste material such as paint, oil, solvents, or other harmful substances;
  4. Placement of any temporary or permanent structures;
  5. Equipment maintenance or washout;
  6. Wounding of the trunk;
  7. Wounding or cutting of roots;
  8. Pruning not in accordance with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 Pruning Standards;
  9. Paving with concrete, asphalt or other impervious surface; and
  10. Altering the natural grade to expose the roots or to cover the tree’s root system with more than four (4) inches of soil.

D.  Any trees preserved or planted in accordance with an approved Tree Plan that die or are severely damaged within the first two years after construction shall be replaced in accordance with the standards of 624.4(b). Any replacement trees shall be maintained for a minimum of two consecutive years after planting or replacement. A statement providing notice of this requirement shall be placed on the Final Plat for every subdivision with an approved Tree Plan.

101.5 Protection of Glynn County Trees

A.  All trees growing on Glynn County property, including public streets rights-of-way, Glynn County offices and facilities, parks and recreation areas, and all other public areas, shall be protected trees. It shall be unlawful for any person other than Glynn County to cut, remove, move, prune, damage or cause the death of any Glynn County tree or to engage in any of the activities described in subsection 624.5(c) within the tree protection zone of any such tree; whether or not the tree protection zone extends onto adjacent private property.
B.  When activities necessitating an approved Tree Plan are conducted on property subject to the provisions of this Section, Glynn County trees shall be actively protected during development and passively protected throughout the life of the tree if the structural root zone of the Glynn County tree extends onto the property. Tree protection zones shall be established for such Glynn County trees on applicable sites. The tree protection zone shall be established and maintained for the duration of development and the life of the tree in accordance with the standards set forth in 624.5. Owners of property required to obtain an approved Tree Plan shall receive tree canopy credit for the open soil area dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of Glynn County trees when required to protect a Glynn County tree.
C.  During development of property subject to the provisions of this Section, the tree protection zone of any Glynn County tree adjoining the property and within the public right-of-way shall be protected as provided in subsections 624.5(a) and 624.5(c). This provision shall apply whether or not the tree protection zone extends onto the adjoining private property.
D.  Applicable sites shall not be required to protect the structural root zone of a Glynn County tree if the trunk of the Glynn County tree is separated from the property line of the applicable site by a public or private road with a right-of-way of not less than 50 feet in width.

101.6 Tree Plan and Review Process.

A.       Tree Plan. Owners of the property delineated in subsection 624.2 shall prepare and submit a proposed Tree Plan for review contemporaneously with an application for a site plan, preliminary plat, expedited subdivision, demolition permit, land disturbance permit, or with a request to separate a substandard lot of record into separate tax parcels. The Tree Plan shall show the amount, location, and type of tree canopy currently existing on the property as of the date of submission of the Tree Plan and the tree canopy to be preserved or planted on the property.

  1. The proposed Tree Plan shall be in the form of a to-scale map or a site plan prepared by a registered surveyor, registered engineer, registered landscape architect, or registered architect properly sealed by the preparer, and shall include the following information:
    a.  Property line with bearings and distances, easements, marsh and wetland delineations, and other information necessary to calculate development area;
    b.  A tree survey noting the location of all trees of 12 inches DBH or greater on the property along with the species common name and DBH. Groupings of trees with overlapping canopies may be identified together when feasible;
    c.  Photographs of all trees proposed for removal, all trees proposed for preservation, and all Glynn County trees abutting the property. Individual photographs of each tree are required for sites of one acre or less. Photographs of groups of trees, including aerial photographs or satellite images, are allowed for sites greater than one acre so long as such photographs provide enough detail to adequately and accurately represent the trees located on the site;
    d.  For individual trees and groups of trees to be preserved – the species common name, DBH, location of the trunk, the amount and location of open soil area for the tree(s), the boundaries of the tree protection zone, and the location of protective fencing;
    e.  For planted trees – the species common name, the caliper and height at time of planting, the amount and location of open soil area for the tree, the boundaries of the tree protection zone, and the location of protective fencing;
    f.  Glynn County trees – the locations of any and all Glynn County trees whose structural root zones extend onto the property, the species common name of each tree, DBH, location of the trunk, the amount and location of open soil area for the trees, the boundaries of the tree protection zone, and the location of protective fencing;
    g.  Specimen Trees – the locations of any and all specimen trees, the species common name of each tree, DBH, and whether the tree will be preserved;
    h.  The locations of existing and proposed structures, paving, driveways, cut and fill areas, detention areas, utility lines, and easements;
    i.  If applicable, the locations and details of all permanent tree protection measures (tree wells, aeration systems, permeable paving, retaining walls, bollards, etc.); and
    j.  Calculations showing compliance with the tree canopy requirements using existing trees and replacement trees.

B.  Review Process. Tree Plans shall be evaluated by the County Arborist prior to being forwarded to the Islands Planning Commission or Community Development Director for consideration. The County Arborist shall provide recommendations regarding the Tree Plan to the Community Development Department as part of its development review process. Consideration of a proposed Tree Plan shall occur as follows:

  1. Application. Applicants seeking review of a Tree Plan shall file the Tree Plan with the Community Development Department. Tree Plans with missing and/or inaccurate information will be returned to the applicant and will not be processed.  Upon receipt of a complete Tree Plan application, the Tree Plan will be submitted to the County Arborist for review. The County Arborist shall schedule and conduct an inspection of the property. The applicant or their designee shall be advised as to the date and time of the inspection and given an opportunity to participate. Following inspection, the County Arborist shall advise the applicant of any recommended changes in the applicant’s proposed Tree Plan necessary to make it comply with the provisions of this Section. The County Arborist shall forward the proposed Tree Plan to the Community Development Department with a recommendation.
  2. Consideration by Islands Planning Commission. The Islands Planning Commission shall consider Tree Plans filed in conjunction with an application for a site plan or Island Preservation District demolition permit. No site plan or Island Preservation District demolition permit shall be deemed approved unless and until the accompanying Tree Plan is approved by either the Islands Planning Commission or by the Board of Commissioners on appeal. The Islands Planning Commission will consider the Tree Plan at the same meeting as the accompanying application. The public shall be given notice of consideration of the proposed Tree Plan by placement of a sign in a conspicuous location on the subject property or within the right-of-way adjacent to the subject property. The sign shall contain the date, time, and place of the meeting of the Islands Planning Commission. The sign shall be posted at least 15 days, but not more than 45 days, prior to the date of the meeting.
    The Islands Planning Commission shall consider the recommendations of the County Arborist in making its decision whether the proposed Tree Plan is in compliance with the technical standards and protection requirements of this Section. The Islands Planning Commission may approve, approve with conditions, deny, or defer action on a proposed Tree Plan. When denying a Tree Plan the Islands Planning Commission shall include the reasons for such denial in its motion.
  3. Consideration by Community Development Director. The Community Development Director shall consider Tree Plans filed in conjunction with an application for a preliminary plat, expedited subdivision, land disturbance permit, clearing of commercial property, demolition permit for buildings built on, or across, the common lot line(s) of two more contiguous substandard lots of record, and requests to separate a tax parcel when the parcel consists of two or more contiguous substandard lots of record. None of the aforementioned applications or requests shall be deemed approved unless and until the accompanying Tree Plan is approved by either the Community Development Director or by the Board of Commissioners on appeal.
    The Community Development Director shall consider the recommendations of the County Arborist in making the decision whether the proposed Tree Plan is in compliance with the technical standards and protection requirements of this Section. The Community Development Director may approve, approve with conditions, or deny the proposed Tree Plan. When denying a Tree Plan the Community Development Director shall provide the reasons for such denial to the applicant in writing.
  4. Appeals.
    a.  An applicant whose application for a Tree Plan is denied by the Islands Planning Commission or the Community Development Director may appeal such decision to the Board of Commissioners. Such appeal shall be made in writing and must be filed with and received by the Community Development Director. For appeals from the Islands Planning Commission, the appeal must be delivered within 30 days of the date of the meeting wherein the Islands Planning Commission made its decision or reported its reasons for denial. For appeals from the Community Development Director, the appeal must be delivered within 30 days of the date of transmission of the written reasons for denial. The written appeal must include the appellant’s name and address and specifically state the grounds for which the decision of the Islands Planning Commission or Community Development Director should be overturned or modified, based on procedural irregularity and/or the applicable criteria. Appeals received after the deadline shall be rejected.
    b.  The Board of Commissioners shall hear the appeal at a regularly scheduled meeting within sixty (60) calendar days of the Community Development Director’s receipt of the written appeal. The hearing before the Board of Commissioners shall be confined to a review of the record of the proceeding before the Islands Planning Commission. If the appeal is from a decision of the Community Development Director, the review will be confined to a review of the materials submitted to him or her regarding the application. No new evidence shall be admitted or considered at the hearing. The Board of Commissioners shall review the record for error based on procedural irregularity and/or error based on the sufficiency or insufficiency of the evidence to support the findings and conclusions of the Islands Planning Commission or Community Development Director that the applicable criteria were not met. Prior to the appeal hearing, the Board of Commissioners shall receive the record of the proceeding before the Islands Planning Commission, including the adopted findings and conclusions of the Islands Planning Commission, the written staff report submitted to the Islands Planning Commission, and any information and documentation presented to the Islands Planning Commission at the proceeding by the applicant, proponents, opponents, and County staff. For appeals from a decision of the Community Development Director, the Board of Commissioners shall receive any information and documentation presented to the Community Development Director regarding the Tree Plan application, the recommendation and/or findings of the County Arborist, and the written reasons for denial.
    c.   At the appeal hearing, the Board of Commissioners shall hear from the appellant and from staff of the Community Development Department, each of whom shall have up to ten minutes to address the Board of Commissioners. After hearing from the appellant and county staff, the Board of Commissioners may ask questions of the individuals and parties involved, including those members of the Islands Planning Commission that voted to deny, as may be necessary to assist in rendering a decision. After concluding the hearing, the Board of Commissioners may: (1) affirm or reverse the decision in whole or in part; (2) affirm, modify, or reverse the decision with conditions; (3) remand the item back to the Islands Planning Commission or Community Development Director with instruction for further action; or (4) defer action on the appeal until a future meeting of the Board of Commissioners.
  5. Review by Tree Board; Glynn County Trees. When a proposed Tree Plan includes a site where the structural root zone of a Glynn County tree extends onto the site, the Tree Board shall consider and make recommendations regarding the Tree Plan prior to consideration and final approval by either the Islands Planning Commission or the Community Development Director. The Tree Board shall prepare a written report which includes its recommendation(s) and forward said report to either the Islands Planning Commission or the Community Development Director. The Tree Board shall provide its recommendation within 60 days of the receipt of a complete Tree Plan application by the Community Development Department. If the Tree Board does not provide a recommendation within 60 days, the Tree Plan shall be deemed to have been recommended for approval by the Tree Board.

101.7 Variances.

A.   Where exceptional practical difficulties, special conditions, hardships, or results inconsistent with the purpose and intent of this Section may result from the strict application of certain provisions thereof, variances may be granted by the Islands Planning Commission upon a finding that the criteria in 624.8(b) have been met.
B.  All variance requests, including those associated with an application subject to the approval of the Community Development Director, shall be considered and decided by the Islands Planning Commission. Variance requests shall be submitted along with the Tree Plan application and shall include a statement and evidence demonstrating that the following criteria are met:

  1. There are extraordinary and exceptional conditions pertaining to the particular subject property because of its size, shape, or topography;
  2. Such conditions are peculiar to the subject property;
  3. The special conditions or circumstances are not self-imposed – meaning they do not result from the action(s) or inaction of the applicant; and
  4. The variance, if granted, would not cause substantial harm to the public good or impair the purpose and intent of this Ordinance.

This Section is not intended to prevent the preservation of Mature Live Oak trees in circumstances which do not meet the requirements of this Section. In development or redevelopment of property on St. Simons Island, it is preferred that Mature Live Oak trees are preserved wherever possible. In furtherance of that preference, and in addition to the foregoing criteria, a variance may be granted where the requestor demonstrates that the strict application of this Section would prevent the preservation of Mature Live Oaks on the property.

C.   In exercising its authority to consider variances, the Islands Planning Commission may approve, approve with conditions, deny, or defer action on a variance request. No variance shall be permitted for a land use that is not a permitted use within the zoning district in which the property is located. No variance shall be permitted which fully eliminates the open soil area required by this Section.

101.8 Preservation of Mature Live Oaks

St. Simons Island is particularly known and renowned for its mature Live Oak trees. Accordingly, preservation of such trees is deemed to be necessary and desirable.
A.  Any provision to the contrary in this Section notwithstanding, all Live Oak trees (Latin name: Quercus virginiana), 38 inches DBH or greater, located on St. Simons Island shall be classified as mature Live Oak trees. A mature Live Oak tree shall not be removed from any property on St. Simons Island, regardless of the zoning or size of the property, without prior consent or approval from the Community Development Director; except for Glynn County trees removed by Glynn County. Tree removal shall be approved only if  the mature Live Oak meets one or more of the following conditions:

  1. Dead.
  2. Insect infestation or disease for which treatment is impractical, causing tree decline, and with a high probability of spreading to other trees.
  3. Damage such that it is more likely than not that the tree will die.
  4. Unresolvable conflict with infrastructure or existing structure that is creating an unsafe condition, damage to the infrastructure/structure, or poses a hazard to the public health, safety, or welfare.
  5. Unresolvable conflict with a permitted use (under the applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance) which makes such use impractical or impossible.
  6. The tree creates an unsafe condition or poses a hazard to public health, safety, or welfare.

The Community Development Director, with input from the County Arborist, shall determine whether a mature Live Oak meets any of the above conditions.

B.  If removal of a mature Live Oak is proposed by a Tree Plan submitted for consideration by the Islands Planning Commission or the Community Development Director, the County Arborist must be consulted regarding the criteria in 624.9(a) before the Tree Plan may be approved. In all other instances of proposed removal, the Community Development Director shall have the authority to approve or deny removal of a mature Live Oak tree.
C.  For each mature Live Oak removed, one new Live Oak of at least four (4) inches DBH shall be planted on the property by the applicant.

101.9 Penalties.

A.   A violation of the provisions of this Section shall be a misdemeanor. The maximum permissible fine shall be $1,000.00 per offense. As a deterrent to violation, second and subsequent violations by the same offender of any provision of this Section whether violations of the same or different provisions of this Section as the initial violation, and whether involving the same or different property, shall increase the fine owing.

  1. First violation:  For the first violation of any provision of this Section by any violator (whether an individual or corporation), the fine shall be a minimum of $500.00.
  2. Second violation:  For the second violation of any provision of this Section (whether the same or different as the first violation) by the same violator (whether an individual or corporation), the fine shall be a minimum of $750.00.
  3. Third and subsequent violations:  For the third and subsequent violation of any provision of this Section (whether the same or different as the prior two violations) by the same violator (whether an individual or corporation), the fine shall be a minimum of $900.00.

B.  In the event that a tree preserved or planted in accordance with an approved Tree Plan is removed in violation of this Section, violators shall be subject to replace the tree with a tree or trees equaling 125% of the total caliper of the removed or damaged trees. Furthermore, the location of the tree’s open soil area shall permanently remain in a pervious state with no structures or buildings placed on it.
C.  Upon notice from the Community Development Director, work on any development that is being done contrary to the provisions of this Section shall immediately cease. The stop-work notice shall be in writing and shall go to the owner of the property, or to his agent, or to the person doing the work, and shall state the conditions under which work may be resumed. When an emergency exists, the Community Development Director shall not be required to give written notice prior to stopping the work. Further, in the event that work on any development is being done contrary to the provisions of this Section, the Community Development Director may revoke any permit previously issued by the Glynn County Community Development Department pertaining to the development activity for which the development activity permit has been issued until, at his or her discretion, the work on the development is brought into compliance with the provisions of this Section.
D.  In addition to the foregoing remedies, if the person engaged in development activity fails to obey a written notice to comply within the time specified, he shall be deemed in violation of this Section and, in addition to other penalties, the Community Development Director may direct the Building Official to refuse to issue a certificate of occupancy for the building or other improvements constructed or being constructed on the site until the measures necessary to achieve compliance with this Section have been completed and all violations of this Section have been brought into compliance.
E.  The owner of any property where a violation of this Section occurs and any architect, builder, contractor, or any other agent of the owner, or any tenant, who commits or assists in the commission of any violation, shall be guilty of a separate offense.

101.10 Liability, Severability, Effective Date.

A.  The contents of this Section shall not in any way be deemed to impose any liability on Glynn County, the Board of Commissioners, the County Arborist, or Glynn County employees nor shall it relieve the owner of any private property from the duty to keep trees in a safe condition as not to adversely affect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
B.  Should any section, subsection, clause, or provision of this Section be declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the Section in whole or any part thereof other than the part so declared to be invalid.
C.  This Section shall become effective upon its adoption. To the extent that a person has submitted a complete application to Glynn County for a site plan, building permit, preliminary plat, expedited subdivision, demolition permit or land disturbance permit prior to adoption of this Section, such person shall not be subject to this Section and shall be subject to such requirements in existence prior to the adoption of this Section.
D.  This Section is not intended to repeal, abrogate, or supersede any existing Tree Plan or Planned Development tree standards approved by Glynn County or the Planning Commissions.

101.11 Definitions.

For the purposes of this Section, the following definitions shall apply:
Airport property means that property consisting of “Tract ‘A’ – Aviation Area” as described in the Planned Development District for the McKinnon St. Simons Airport; as initially adopted by the Board of Commissioners on October 16, 2014, and as amended from time to time.
Arborist means a person who has been trained in the growing, diagnosing, treating, pruning, and removing of trees and who is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.
Caliper means a standard of trunk measurement for trees. Caliper inches are measured at the height of six (6) inches above the ground for trees up to and including 4-inch caliper and twelve (12) inches above the ground for trees larger than 4-inch caliper.
Clearing means the removal of trees of six inches DBH or greater. Clearing shall not mean the removal of underbrush, trees less than six inches DBH, invasive species, or non-native trees.
Community Development Director means the Director of the Glynn County Community Development Department or their designee.
County means Glynn County, Georgia.
Critical root zone means the minimum area beneath and surrounding a tree, which must be left undisturbed in order to sustain the health of a tree. The Critical Root Zone is represented by a circle centering on the tree’s trunk with a diameter equivalent to 2.5 feet for every one inch in DBH. Example: The Critical Root Zone diameter of a 20-inch diameter tree is fifty (50) feet.
Development Area means all land used in the calculations for Density and Site Coverage (as defined in Section 302 of the Zoning Ordinance). Development Area shall not include “Waters of the State” as defined by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, “Jurisdictional Wetlands” as defined by the Army Corps of Engineers, areas seaward of the Beach and Dune Development Setback Line as defined in Section 727, public or private rights-of-way, access easements, or accessways as appropriate.
Diameter breast-height/DBH means the standard measure of tree size. The tree trunk is measured at a height of four and one-half (4½) feet above the ground. If a tree splits into multiple trunks below four and one-half (4½) feet above the ground, then each trunk will be measured separately as an individual tree at four and one-half (4½) feet above the ground.
Glynn County Arborist means the individual empowered by Glynn County with the responsibility for reviewing plans, conducting site inspections, and otherwise administering the provisions of this Section.
Glynn County Tree means any tree whose trunk is growing wholly or partially on land in which Glynn County has a property interest, including, but not limited to, public street rights-of-way, parks, and building and facility yards.
Large Canopy Tree means a large tree with wide spread and being of a species so listed in the Preferred Species List of the Glynn County Comprehensive Tree Plan, as adopted by the Board of Commissioners from time to time.
Open soil area means the area beneath and around a planted or preserved tree that shall remain in a permeable condition and is not covered by man-made or impermeable materials or structures such as buildings, hardscapes, impermeable pads, or paving in such a way as to prevent the natural passage of water and atmosphere.
Pervious surface means all that area of real property that can be landscaped or planted, allows the natural passage of water from the surface into the water table, and is not covered by man-made materials or structures such as buildings or paving.
Section means Section 624 of the Zoning Ordinance in its entirety.
Silvaculture means the planting, producing, and tending of stands of trees specifically for the purpose of harvesting for market. Silvaculture is a permitted use only in the Forest Agricultural (FA) District pursuant to Section 704 of the Zoning Ordinance.
Specimen tree means any tree which, in the determination of the Islands Planning Commission, qualifies for special consideration for conservation due to its size, type, condition, location, registration or historical significance and is determined by the County Arborist, prior to development, to be in overall good health without the aid of a specialized care plan according to accepted International Society of Arboriculture practices. Specimen trees shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

Common Name Species Diameter an Breast Height (DBH)
Live Oak (single/double trunk) Quercus virginiana 38 inches
Live Oak (multiple truck) Quercus virginiana 60 inches cumulative
Southern Magnolia Magnolia Grandiflora 30 inches
Red Cedar Juniperus virginiana 24 inches
Bald Cypress Taxodium distichum 36 inches

Structural Root Zone means the area beneath and surrounding a tree, which must be left undisturbed in order to sustain the structural stability of a tree. The Structural Root Zone is represented by a concentric circle centering on the tree’s trunk with a diameter equivalent to 0.9 feet for every one inch in DBH. Example: The Structural Root Zone diameter of a 20-inch diameter tree is eighteen (18) feet.

Substandard lot of record means a lot of record that was legally and properly recorded prior to the passage of this Ordinance on February 1, 1966, with a lot width less than that permitted in the zoning district in which it is located or that is smaller in total area than the minimum area permitted for the zoning district within which it is located.

Tree means any living, self-supporting woody or fibrous plant which normally obtains a diameter breast height of at least three (3) inches, and typically has one (1) main stem or trunk and many branches.

Tree Board means that body created and described in Article V, Chapter 2-16, of the Glynn County Code of Ordinances.

Tree Plan means the document(s) required by subsection 624.7 of this Section.

Tree removal or removal of trees means the cutting, toppling, destruction, moving, or removing of a tree or trees; and including any act, which causes a tree to die within two (2) years after commission of the act, including but not limited to damage inflicted upon the root system in the structural root zone or trunk as the result of:

  1. Vehicle or equipment traffic, parking, or storage;
  2. Storage of materials or supplies;
  3. Disposal of waste material such as paint, oil, solvents, or other harmful substances;
  4. Placement of any temporary or permanent structures;
  5. Equipment maintenance or washout;
  6. Wounding of the trunk;
  7. Wounding or cutting of roots;
  8. Pruning not in accordance with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 Pruning Standards;
  9. Paving with concrete, asphalt or other impervious surface; or
  10. Altering the natural grade to expose the roots or to cover the tree’s root system with more than four (4) inches of soil.

Tree Protection Zone means an area surrounding a tree encompassing the structural root zone of a tree.

Buffer Regulations (Topic 2)

101.1 Purpose and intent.

Buffers shall be required between incompatible land uses and zoning districts, around particular visually objectionable structures and between certain land uses located along certain streets in order to provide separation and privacy and to reduce the impact of noise, debris and undesirable lighting to adjacent properties and streets.

Uses in any zone properly approved and permitted prior to the adoption of this Section will not be required to adhere to the provisions of this Section unless changes or alterations are made to the subject property that would require site plan approval.

Required buffers may be made up of existing vegetation, plantings, and landscape walls. Unless otherwise specified, buffers located at the perimeter of a lot shall be inclusive of the required yards and, if required, will be located wholly on the subject property. The minimum design specifications and required location of buffers are specified in the following text.

101.2 Types of Buffers and Design Specifications. 

A.  Plant Material Specifications:

  1. Quality: All plant materials shall be alive and in a healthy condition. Plant materials shall conform to the standards of the most recent edition of the “American Standard for Nursery Stock,” published by the American Association of Nurserymen.
  2. Minimum size standards:

a.  Small deciduous trees: Small deciduous trees shall be of a species that reach a minimum crown spread of greater than twelve (12) feet within ten (10) years. At the time of planting, a minimum caliper of at least two and one-half (2 ½) inches shall be required unless a native species is selected then the minimum caliper shall be reduced to two (2) inches. Multi-stem plants shall be a minimum of eight (8) feet tall.

b.  Large deciduous trees: Large deciduous trees shall be of a species that reach a minimum crown spread of greater than thirty (30) feet within twenty (20) years. At the time of planting, a minimum caliper of at least two and one-half (2 ½) inches shall be required unless a native species is selected then the minimum caliper shall be reduced to two (2) inches. Multi-stem plants shall be a minimum of ten (10) feet tall.

c.  Evergreen trees: Evergreen trees shall be of a species that will reach a minimum height of eighteen (18) feet within twenty (20) years. At the time of planting, a minimum height of five (5) feet shall be required.

d.  Medium shrubs: Medium shrubs shall be of a species that reach a minimum height of three (3) feet in five (5) years. A minimum height of eighteen (18) inches shall be required at the time of planting.

3.  Landscaping design: Generally, planting should be in an irregular line and spaced at random. Clustering of plants and tree species shall be required to provide acceptable composition and mix of vegetation. Decorative walls and fences may be integrated into any landscaping program. The use of such walls or fences, having a minimum height of three (3) feet, may reduce the amount of required plant materials as determined at the time of site plan approval.

4.  Tree preservation: Whether parcels are developed or undeveloped, preservation of existing trees and shrubs within required buffers shall be maximized. Vegetation located within a required buffer shall be maintained unless removal is approved during subdivision or site plan review. Any healthy existing tree or shrub may be included for credit towards the buffer requirements.  If any preserved tree or shrub that has been credited dies, then one tree or shrub shall be planted for each tree or shrub lost based upon the applicable buffer type.  All existing vegetation which is to be preserved in required buffers shall be shown on the landscaping plan and grading plans. Any existing trees to be removed shall be clearly delineated on the landscaping plan and grading plan.

5.  Fire hydrants: Vegetation, trees, shrubs, and ground cover shall not be planted or installed within a radius of ten (10) feet of a fire hydrant as measured from the center point of the hydrant.

B.      Landscape Wall Specifications: Walls shall be a minimum of six (6) feet in height, opaque, with acceptable construction to include stucco cover block, brick, split face block, ribbed block, pressure treated, naturally rot resistant wood or PVC solid fences. All walls shall have the finished side of the wall face outward from the site and shall have landscaping that complies with the requirements of the applicable buffer type.

C.      Minimum requirements for types of buffers:

  1. Type “A” Buffer – A buffer not less than twenty (20) feet wide planted strip consisting of all of the following:

a.  At least one (1) large deciduous tree for each fifty (50) lineal feet and at least one (1) evergreen tree for each thirty (30) lineal feet;

b.  At least one (1) small deciduous tree for each fifty (50) lineal feet;

c.  At least one (1) medium shrub for each fifteen (15) lineal feet; and

d.  Low shrubs and ground cover used appropriately in tree and/or shrub beds.

e.  Type “A” Alternate Buffer Standard Type 1 – A buffer not less than twelve (12) feet wide planted strip with a landscape wall per Section 613.2 (2) on the exterior side of the buffer with plant types (1) – (3) above.

f.  Type “A” Alternate Buffer Standard Type 2 – A buffer not less than twelve (12) feet wide planted strip with a landscape wall per Section 613.2 (2) on the interior side of the buffer with plant types (1) – (3) above.

2.  Type “B” Buffer – A buffer not less than forty (40) feet wide planted strip consisting of all of the following:

a.  At least two (2) large deciduous trees for each fifty (50) lineal feet and at least one evergreen tree for each thirty (30) lineal feet;

b.  At least two (2) small deciduous trees for each thirty (30) lineal feet;

c.  At least two (2) medium shrubs for each ten (10) lineal feet; and

d.  Low shrubs and ground cover used appropriately in tree and/or shrub beds.

e.  Type “B” Alternate Buffer Standard Type 1 – A buffer not less than twenty-four (24) feet wide with a landscape wall per Section 613.2 (2) on the exterior of the buffer with plant types (1) – (3) above.

f.  Type “B” Alternate Buffer Standard Type 2 – A buffer not less than twenty-four (24) feet wide planted strip with a landscape wall per Section 613.2 (2) on the interior side of the buffer with plant types (1) – (3) above.

3.  Type “C” Buffer – A buffer not less than one hundred (100) feet wide planted strip consisting of all of the following:

a.  At least four (4) large deciduous trees for each fifty (50) lineal feet and at least three (3) evergreen trees for each fifty (50) lineal feet;

b.  At least two (2) small deciduous trees for each thirty (30) lineal feet;

c.  At least two (2) medium shrubs for each ten (10) lineal feet; and

d.  Low shrubs and ground cover used appropriately in tree and/or shrub beds.

e.  Where adjacent to a public road: An average four (4) foot high undulating berm with maximum side slopes of 3:1 designed to provide topographical interest yet maintain limited visibility into parking areas; and installation of plant types (1)- (3) above.

f.  Type “C” Alternate Buffer Standard Type 1 – A buffer not less than sixty (60) feet wide with a landscape wall per Section 613.2 (2) on the exterior side of the buffer with plant types (1) – (3) above.

g.  Type “C” Alternate Buffer Standard Type 2 – A buffer consisting of a constructed vegetated berm whose width and height is determined at site plan approval based upon proximity and intensity of proposed uses on the site.

4.  Type “D” Buffer – A landscape wall high enough to visually conceal equipment, storage, and/or service areas located behind. The minimum height of the wall shall be the actual height required to screen the object from view.

5.  Type “E” Buffer – A buffer not less than ten (10) feet wide planted strip consisting of all of the following:

a.  At least one (1) large deciduous tree for each fifty (50) lineal feet and at least;

b.  At least one (1) small deciduous tree for every thirty (30) lineal feet; and a

c.  Continuous hedge forms for the entire lot width, no shorter than three (3) feet at planting; or a continuous screening fence or wall constructed of the same material used in the buildings for the entire lot width; or a continuous evergreen hedge forms that grow to or are maintained at a three (3) to four (4) foot height maximum planted along the entire parking area or along any required frontage.

101.3 Location and Type of Buffer Required.

A.  Required Buffer Locations between Zoning Districts:

  1. In Commercial Zoning Districts (FC, HC, GC, OC) that abut Residential Zoning Districts (R-6, R-9, M-6, M-9, Mh-6, Mh-9, R-12, R-20, M-12, M-20, Mh-12, Mh-20, RE, RR, GR, MR, HR) or that abut a residential use in a Planned Development District, a type “A” buffer is required at the abutting property lines. A type “A” buffer is also required abutting FA tracts developed or approved as residential subdivisions.
  2. In Industrial Zoning Districts (LI, BI) that abut Residential Zoning Districts (R-6, R-9, M-6, M-9, Mh-6, Mh-9, R-12, R-20, M-12, M-20, Mh-12, Mh-20, RE, RR, GR, MR, HR) or that abut a residential use in a Planned Development District, a type “B” buffer is required at the abutting property lines. A type “B” buffer is also required abutting FA tracts developed or approved as residential subdivisions.
  3. In Industrial Zoning District (GI) that abut Residential Zoning Districts (R-6, R-9, M-6, M-9, Mh-6, Mh-9, R-12, R-20, M-12, M-20, Mh-12, Mh-20, RE, RR, GR, MR, HR) or that abut a residential use in a Planned Development District, a type “C” buffer is required at the abutting property lines. A type “C” buffer is also required abutting FA tracts developed or approved as residential subdivisions.
  4. In Multi-Family Residential Zoning Districts (GR, MR, HR, RR) that abut Single Family Residential Zoning Districts (R-6, R-9, M-6, M-9, Mh-6, Mh-9, R-12, R-20, M-12, M-20, Mh-12, Mh-20, RE) or that abut a single family residential use in a Planned Development District, a type “A” buffer is required at the abutting property lines. A type “A” buffer is also required abutting FA tracts developed or approved as residential subdivisions.
  5. In Mobile Home Zoning Districts (M-6, M-9, Mh-6, Mh-9, M-6, M-9, Mh-6, Mh-9,) that abut Single Family Residential Zoning Districts (R-6, R-9, R-12, R-20, RE) or that abut a single family residential use in a Planned Development District, a type “B” buffer is required at the abutting property lines. A type “B” buffer is also required abutting FA tracts developed or approved as residential subdivisions.
  6. In New Residential Zoning Districts (R-6, R-9, M-6, M-9, Mh-6, Mh-9, R-12, R- 20, M-12, M-20, Mh-12, Mh-20, RE, RR, GR, MR, HR) that abut existing Commercial Zoning Districts (FC, HC, GC, OC) where no buffer exists at the abutting property line a type “A” buffer shall be required, or Industrial Zoning Districts (LI, BI, GI) where no buffer exists at the abutting property line a type “B” buffer shall be required.
  7. Developments in Planned Development Zoning Districts shall, at a minimum, meet the buffer requirements for buffers in zoning districts with similar uses and the requirements for streets and other locations shall be used.

B.  Required Locations at Streets

  1. At parking lots in any zoning classification where ten (10) or more parking spaces, a driveway in excess of fifty (50) feet , or commercial development is located along streets where the public has access; a type “E” buffer is required.
  2. At residential subdivisions and other residential developments requiring plat approval and located along major and collector streets; a type “A” buffer or a type “A” Alternate Buffer Type 2 abutting the street is required.
  3. At commercial developments located along major, collector, and minor streets on St. Simons Island; a type “E” buffer abutting the street is required.
  4. At industrial developments located along major, collector, and minor streets on St. Simons Island; a type “B” buffer or type “B” Alternate Buffer Type 2 abutting the street is required.

C.  Other Required Locations

  1. Where trash collection and storage areas, dumpsters, and compactors are in view of a street where the public has access or is in view of the adjacent property, a type “D” buffer is required.
  2. At outside storage areas for items not typically placed for display in view of a street where the public has access or is in view of adjacent property; a type “D” buffer is required.
  3. Around mechanical equipment, excluding single family residential uses, within view of adjacent property or in view of a street with public access and not mounted on a roof; a type “D” buffer is required.
  4. At the dividing property line between a lot occupied by any existing lawful use that would be deemed incompatible regardless of the zoning district it occupies the requirement between the zoning districts in which the use would ordinarily exist would apply.

101.4 Uses Allowed within Buffers.

The only uses permitted by right within buffers shall be landscaping and landscape walls. Signs, security fencing, utilities, pedestrian walkways, and driveways connecting to adjacent streets or properties may be permitted through subdivision or site plan review provided the intent and purpose of the required buffer is met.

101.5 Modification of Buffer Requirements.

Except for buffers required by the Board of Commissioners as a condition of zoning, Planning Commissions may allow modifications to the buffer requirements for a development during site plan review and approval under any one of the following conditions:

  1. If the strict application of the provisions of the buffer requirements reduces the usability of a lot because of the buffer configuration or size to a point which would preclude a reasonable use of the lot, then buffer requirements may be modified provided the purpose and intent is met through a combination of architectural and landscaping design.
  2. If the proposed modifications with no reduction to the width substantially meet or exceed the purpose and intent of the buffer requirements.
  3. If an adjacent lot is occupied by any existing lawful use that would be deemed compatible regardless of the zoning district it occupies, modifications to the buffer requirements may be considered for the area at the dividing property line.
  4. If an adjacent property is not suitable for development because of geographical or environmental constraints.

101.6 Required Timing of Buffer Placement.

A.  In order to receive a Certificate of Occupancy the required buffers shall be fully completed in accordance with the approved site plan. When the occupancy of a structure is desired prior to the completion of the required buffer, a temporary Certificate of Occupancy will be issued when a form of surety satisfactory to the Director of Community Development is submitted which is equal to double the amount of the costs of completing the required buffer is provided.

B.  Buffer construction and/or completion may be phased with the sequence of construction if a phasing plan is submitted and approved at the time of the site plan or subdivision approval.

101.7 Maintenance of Buffers.

The owner of the property on which the buffer is located shall be responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the required buffer. All plant material shall be tended and maintained in a healthy and growing condition and free from refuse and debris. All landscape areas shall be provided with a readily available source of water. Failure to maintain the buffer as approved shall constitute a violation which shall be subject to enforcement as provided for by Article IX of this Ordinance.

101.8 Nonconforming Buildings and Structures.

A lawfully existing commercial building or commercial development that becomes nonconforming as a result of adoption of these buffer requirements, or any amendments thereto, that is damaged or destroyed by fire, flood, storm, or other act of God may be repaired or rebuilt without meeting the buffer requirements of this Ordinance if: (1) the owner provides documentation to the Community Development Director demonstrating that the building or development lawfully existed at the time of adoption of the buffer requirement(s) herein; (2) repair or reconstruction commences within two (2) years from the date it was damaged or destroyed; (3) the nonconforming building or development retains, restores, and maintains any screening or buffering that existed prior to such damage or destruction; and (4) the nonconforming building or development would be substantially impacted by complying with the buffer requirements of this Ordinance.