Community Development

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The Community Development Department is dedicated to providing a full range of public safety services related to building, planning, and code compliance, including building permit review, building inspections, comprehensive planning, land development administration, floodplain management, code enforcement, historic preservation, urban forestry, GIS mapping and public outreach.

Permit and Application forms are available on the City's website located under "Document Center" or in hard copy at the Community Development Department at located at 418 Osborne Street St Marys GA or call 912-510-4032. Forms are updated periodically, so be sure to check the website for the latest version before you submit an application. City of St Marys operates under the 2012 IBC codes. All ordinances for the City can be found at

Please do not rely on Camden County Tax Assessor's map or parcel search for zoning verification. You can search the zoning of your property at

If you have a question about Planning, please email the Planner of the Day at

If you like to request a building inspection electronically please submit address of project, contact person, project name, permit number, what type of inspection requested and a contact number to Someone needs to be onsite for the inspection.

Permits are required for the following: 

  • Rezoning
  • Annexations
  • Special Use
  • Signs
  • Subdivide property 
  • Land Disturbance over an acre
  • Demolition
  • Building Renovations at or over 50%
  • New Construction
  • Residential/ Commercial Accessory Structures
  • Storage sheds over 200 SF
  • Pools/ Hot Tubs/ Spas
  • Fences that are masonry or brick or wooden fences over 7 feet in height
  • Retaining walls over 4 feet in height
  • All bulk heads 
  • Docks
  • Roofs that require any structural improvements
  • HVAC 
  • Water heaters
  • Windows and Door
  • Plumbing that requires and repiping
  • Natural gas or propane lines 
  • Occupational license
  • Temporary sales or solicitor
  • Mobile Food and vending
  • Driveways on State highways

Dec. 25, 2018 HPC Meeting Cancellation Notice
Posted Dec. 3, 2018
The regularly scheduled HPC meeting for December 25, 2018 at 5;30PM has been canceled due to lack of agenda items and  the meeting falling on a holiday, Christmas day.  The regular HPC meeting will take place in January 22nd at 5:30PM.

Revised Copy of Proposed Zoning Ordinance Released
Posted Oct. 8, 2018
A copy of the proposed zoning ordinance has been released.  A copy can be found at the following link:  "Sept. 26, 2018 Revised Draft of Zoning Ordinance"

City Council Work Session
Posted Sept 24, 2018; Edited Oct 8, 2018
City Council has scheduled a Work Session on the Zoning Land Development Ordinance revision for Wednesday, September 26, 2018 (6:00 p.m.) in Council Chambers at City Hall.  City Council will be reviewing Chapter 5. 

Additionally, an additional work session is scheduled for October 8th, at 6PM.
October 8th, meeting has been cancelled due to an HVAC issue.

September Reminder Regarding Political Sign Placement

Posted Sept. 5, 2018
With yet another upcoming election season underway, the St. Marys Community Development office wishes to remind citizens of rules regarding placement of political signs.  City of St. Marys City Sign Ordinance Rules Hosted by Municode 

“Sec. 46-140. – Exemptions .…. (10) Political signs when the sign area is 16 square feet or less. Signs must be placed on private property and are prohibited from the public right-of-way by state law. Such signs shall not be erected within the city right-of-way.”

Please also note that Georgia state law (§ 32-6-51) also prohibits the placement of any sign on city right-of-ways, including political signs.

Any signs that are found to not be in compliance will be removed and held at the Community Development office for a period of 10 business days, after this period, the signs will be disposed of.

If you have any questions regarding legal placement, please feel free to contact a member of our planning or code enforcement staff at (912) 510-4032.

Notice Regarding Land Disturbance Activity (LDA) Permitting Requirements.
Posted:  August 23, 2018
The city of St. Marys will be holding a meeting on Monday August 27, 2018 at 10:00 in the Council Chambers at 418 Osborne Street to discuss with interested parties the requirements for Land Disturbance Activity Permitting.
A link to the letter discussing this meeting in more detail by City Engineer, Chris Cox, can be found here.

A fact sheet is also included on our document center which discusses topics such as:

  • Who is required to obtain a Land Disturbing Activity (LDA) Permit?
  • What is a larger common development?
  • How does this this affect obtaining a building permit?
  • Where do I apply for a Land Distorubance Activity Permit?
  • What fees are required for a Land Disturbance Activity Permit?

Lastly, a revised LDA permit is available on our Document center, if you have questions, please contact Chris Cox at (912) 882-4415 or via e-mail at

Information Sheet Regarding Area Regulations for Residential & Commercial Zoning Districts
Posted August 17, 2018
An information sheet has been released to assist the public with our most common questions regarding lot sizes & setbacks.  A copy can be found in the community development section of the document center page on the city's front page.

To allow easier search, future documents will be also posted in this section of the website.

If you have additional questions regarding zoning rules, setbacks, or area rules, please feel free to contact one of our planning staff displayed on this page.

Planning Commission Draft Approved for City Council
Posted July 20, 2018
The St. Marys Planning commission voted unanimously to recommend the draft Zoning Ordinance to the City Council.  A copy of the document approved for submission to the City Council can be found at this link.

Special Called Meeting of the Planning Commission
Posted July 16, 2018

On Thursday July 19, 2018, the St. Marys Planning Commission will hold a Special Called Meeting at 5:30PM in the Council Chambers, City Hall, 418 Osborne Street, to discuss and consider whether to recommend adoption of the proposed new Zoning Code and proposed new Zoning Map to the City Council including any proposed changes thereto.  Due to the format of the meeting, the Planning Commission will not be accepting public comment at the July 19, 2018 meeting.  Should the Planning Commission and/or City Council decide to re-open public comment, the period for public comment will be appropriately advertised in advance. A copy of the most recent draft of the proposed zoning ordinance can be found here:  Link to July 19th revised copy of ordinance. 

Tonight's Planning Commission Meeting will be live streamed on the following website -

Special Called Meeting of the Planning Commission
Posted July 10, 2018; updated July 19, 2018 (edited to note ordinance version in link)

On Wednesday July 11, 2018, the Planning Commission will hold a Special Called Meeting at 5:30 PM in Council Chambers, City Hall, 418 Osborne Street, to discuss the proposed changes to the zoning ordinance. The purpose of the meeting is for Commissioners to discuss the proposed changes, make revisions, and continue to work towards considering a recommendation to City Council. Due to the format of the meeting, the Planning Commission will not be accepting public comment at the July 11, 2018 meeting. Should the Planning Commission and/or City Council decide to re-open public comment, the period for public comment will be appropriately advertised in advance. A copy of the most recent draft of the proposed zoning ordinance can be found here: Link to June 19th revised ordinance.  (note this is an older version)

Updated Revision of Proposed Zoning Ordinance
Updated:  June 19, 2018
A revised draft of the Proposed Zoning Ordinance has been released.  These revisions reflect decisions by the Planning Commission partially based on a review of public comment.

The following changes have been offered:

  • Changed Table 4 to stipulate per unit
  • Changed to 900 SF as Minimum Square Footage for Primary Residential Structure in most districts
  • Tabled Oversized Vehicle Parking & Overnight Parking
  • Accepted changes to Section 5.21 as written
  • Changed most Interior Side Setbacks to 7.5 feet
  • Changed Table 1 to incorporate Current Districts
  • Clarified language in 7.01 Zoning, Building, Occupancy, Flood Prevention and Historic Preservation Compliance
  • Technical revisions of 8.01 Zoning Decisions, Defined and 8.03 Application Submission Requirements, Zoning Decisions
  • Added clarification to Minimum Required Parking Spaces in Table 6 of Section 6 Parking Standards
  • Added clarification to 1.07 Public Utilities by Right in Districts, for restrictions on placement of structures and vegetation in utility easements
  • Clarified language in Section 6 Parking Standards to address Handicapped Accessible Parking
  • Clarified definitions for Carports, Easements, Freshwater Marshes, Garages, both Commercial and Residential, Lighting
  • Terms, Nonconforming External Uses, Right-of Way (ROW), and Setback Terms, while striking the Saturated Color definition.
If you have any questions regarding the Proposed Zoning Ordinance or these changes, please contact our planning staff.

Posted:  June 18, 2018
The Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 19, 2018 (5:30 p.m.) in Council Chambers has been cancelled due to lack of quorum.  This meeting was initially going to be moved to the Ward Hernandez Building due to audio/video installation in Council Chambers. The meeting has been rescheduled for Friday June 29, 2018 at 5:30 PM in the Ward Hernandez Building.

Posted:  June 14, 2018
A document has been released by the City of St. Marys, GA Community Development Department regarding the proposed zoning ordinance.  A copy of it can be downloaded at this link.  The proposed Ordinance would repeal the zoning portion of the City’S ordinances known as Chapter/Section 110. The City of St Mary’s has multiple other ordinances that dictate standards for the City such as Subdivisions,Alcoholic Beverages, Buildings and Cemeteries, Courts, Fire Prevention, Floods, Historic Preservation, Utilities,Traffic, Vehicles, Zoning, Signs etc.  If you have further questions, please feel free to contact our Community Development staff for assistance  (contact information is displayed on the left of this page).
Updated:  June 18th, 2018 
As a reminder, the deadline for public comment regarding the proposed changes to the St. Marys Zoning Ordinance is 5PM on June 8th, 2018.  Details regarding this change, including a draft copy of the ordinance and a map displaying zoning changes are available on our proposed zoning ordinance page.   Please submit all comments regarding this to Morgan Granger at    A document of public comments is being compiled and is posted on our proposed zoning page.  

Updated May 16, 2018
A revised draft copy of the proposed changes to the zoning ordinance has been released for public viewing prior to the upcoming Planning Commission events.    

The Planning Commission has held two recent work sessions and have offered the following changes:

  • Changing some of the Permitted residential uses in the Downtown Form-Based District to Special Use.
  • Altering most of the Dimensional Standards in the Downtown Form-Based District, including raising building heights by five feet to allow for change in measurement from ground, not BFE.
  • Changing the exception for Civic buildings to a Special Use Permit.
  • Striking all mentions of color standards.
  • Allowing Tiny Houses to be a Principle Structure in R-1, R-2, &R-3.
  • Permitting front-loaded garages to extend beyond front façade.
    Adding a clarification of Oversized Commercial Vehicle, to three axels or more.
  • Banning RVs from overnight stays, except for emergency temporary housing, and only allowing one unscrewed per residence.
  • Striking language requiring Child Care Day Homes to screen playground equipment.
  • Allowing limited storage of noon-toxic, non-volatile materials as part of Home Occupation.
  • Altered language on Land Disturbance Permitting, to clarify what’s being disturbed.
  • Extended legal non-conforming rights.
Georgia Map Program
If you would like to learn about your flood risk, flood insurance, floodplain regulations, or contact a floodplain official, the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has a great website with all that information. Click here for the website.

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