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Commissioners discuss new affordable housing

Plan for the possible new apartment on Bray St.
Plan for the possible new apartment on Bray St.

Earlier this month, ACC Commissioners approved a massive redevelopment of the Georgia Square Mall tract. Now, more affordable housing units could be coming to Athens, this time on the city’s north side.

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners are expected to discuss a proposal from the Athens Land Trust to convert a 3.6-acre site on Bray Street, near North Avenue, into multifamily housing. In order for the plan to proceed, commissioners would need to approve a zoning change for the parcel in question.

The plan passed the ACC Planning Commission unanimously earlier this month. As proposed, it would create two three-story apartment buildings with 46 units. Each building would include a mixture of one, two, and three-bedroom units for a total of 82 bedrooms, which are intended to be affordable for low and moderate income renters.

While planning commissioners gave the idea a thumbs-up, they did so against the recommendations of county staff, who cited concerns that the development’s driveway crossed over onto nearby properties and didn’t meet the county’s code standards. Planning commissioners noted staff’s objections but felt that the rezoning would be appropriate if the builders addressed some of the design issues before construction would be allowed.

Athens-Clarke County commissioners will discuss the rezoning proposal tonight and are expected to vote on the measure early next month.

Commissioners will also discuss a $7 million dollar package of repaving projects and the county’s Community Development Block Grant plan.

One item on which commissioners are expected to vote tomorrow is an emergency repair to a drainage culvert on Olympic Drive. The seven-foot diameter drainage pipe, which officials estimate is over 50 years old, failed in January during heavy rains. The road has been closed since then.

Tonight’s agenda-setting meeting of the Mayor and Commission begins at 6:00 pm and will be streamed live on the county’s YouTube channel.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.