Peachtree City raises white flag on home color rules

Peachtree City Manager Jon Rorie. Photo/Ben Nelms.
Peachtree City Manager Jon Rorie. Photo/Ben Nelms.

When it came to adopting an ordinance that would impose restrictions on the exterior color of a single-family residence, the Peachtree City Council on April 5 voted unanimously to “disapprove” the proposal.

Above, Peachtree City Manager Jon Rorie. Photo/Ben Nelms.

The agenda item began with City Manager Jon Rorie saying that 47 of the city’s 200 subdivisions have active homeowners’ associations. The demise of HOAs includes a variety of covenant issues which are no longer at play.

“Maybe we do nothing, or maybe we do something. This is a public process,” Rorie said at the outset of the council discussion adding that the item could be tabled.

Rorie noted that, along with exterior homes colors, expiring subdivision covenants will lead to a push for a comprehensive review of all zoning ordinances this year.

Peachtree City Councilman Kevin Madden. Photo/Ben Nelms.
Peachtree City Councilman Kevin Madden. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Councilman Kevin Madden during the discussion said the covenants in his neighborhood have expired and the HOA no longer exists. Stating his belief that zoning ordinances need a comprehensive review, Madden also said, “We need to come up with a reasonable plan on what to do. I don’t think this (exterior house color) was the first salvo we should have fired.”

Councilman Terry Ernst essentially agreed, saying, “We were not elected to tell people what color they can paint their house.”

The council agreed, quickly voting unanimously to disapprove the ordinance change proposal.

Peachtree City Councilman Terry Ernst. Photo/Ben Nelms.
Peachtree City Councilman Terry Ernst. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Noting that some of the city’s residents “moved here because of the restrictions, we need to look at all the issues (involved in zoning),” Councilman Phil Prebor said prior to the vote, citing the example of a man who put four “No Trespassing” signs attached to broomsticks in his yard.

Prior to the vote, the public hearing portion of the process had four speakers, one who supported the color restrictions and three who opposed.

Councilman Phil Prebor. Photo/Submitted.
Peachtree City Councilman Phil Prebor. Photo/Submitted.

One of those opposed was contractor Brad Barnard, who said HOAs sometimes have diverging views on neighborhood issues. Beyond that, Barnard said he did not understand what the change of materials noted in the ordinance language meant, and asked who in city government would control and monitor compliance.

According to the ordinance proposal, “Exterior colors shall be low reflectance, and subtle, earth-tone, or historical colors from a major paint manufacturer’s historical palette. Bright high-intensity colors, bright metallic colors or fluorescent colors shall not be used. Material or color changes generally should occur at a change of plane; painted patterns and frequent changes in material and/or color selections shall be avoided. Building colors should be carefully chosen so that each building color complements that of its neighbors and/or the development. Unique buildings can be granted exceptions by the Director of Planning and Development.”