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Grove Street subdivision concerns lead to long public hearing on zoning

Concerns over plans to cut a 13.34-acre tract of land on Grove Street into six lots ranging from 1.24 to 2.37 acres in size led to lengthy discussion at a public hearing held prior to the regular county commission meeting Sept. 15. The developer, Greg Stringer of Atlanta, desired to build 1200-square foot houses and rezone the six parcels from AR-agricultural/residential to R3-residential. Neighbors in the area voiced many concerns, particularly about the zoning change. John Briley, who has lived in the area for 40 years, said the residents there want to retain the country atmosphere in what was once the McCord dairy farm. He noted the lots were wet and along the headwaters of a large lake. ’This will result in low rent properties,’ Briley said. He noted how his scout troop has issues with vandals from Powell Place Apartments behind the high school constantly damaging the scout hut and surrounding park behind the high school. ‘This will be just like that,’ Briley said. Noting he ‘pays good money in taxes’ on his property, Tyrone Ward also voiced concerns about the house size. ‘Twelve hundred square foot houses won’t sell. These people will be slumlords. It will be just like the current duplexes out there where there is crime, drugs and we had one murder,’ Ward challenged. Arnold Butler said the area was too wet and he often has to pull power company trucks out of the muck along the power lines behind his property which is adjacent to the proposed subdivision. Cynthia Ward was more concerned about the zoning change. ‘We want to preserve the country atmosphere. We adopted three young children and that’s where we want to raise them. Those houses will become rental property. I would like you to leave it AR and require 1400-square foot homes,’ she said. Winfred Dixson, who owns several parcels in the area, also foresaw low rent housing units. ‘These will end up being rental properties and it will be a slum. People just don’t keep up what they don’t own,’ Dixson said. Stringer said he only wanted what is best for the community and noted there are multiple properties zoned R3 in close proximity to the land in question. After much back and forth, the commission voted on a motion to approve subdividing the land while maintaining the AR zoning and requiring the homes to be stick-built and at least 1400 square feet. Commissioners Nancy Thrash and Robert Heiney voted yes with Ryran Traylor and Bennie Horton opposed. Chairman Charles Glass broke the tie by voting to approve the motion.

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