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Commissioners block proposed east side development

Nicole Jordan

A controversial development near the Green Acres development will not be built.

The proposed project would have built 28 townhomes on a parcel owned by Green Acres Baptist Church, but residents of the nearby neighborhood turned out in force to oppose the development at several meetings in recent weeks. Those opponents said that the project didn’t fit in with their neighborhood, would require an existing single-family home to be demolished, and raised concerns about traffic flow on an already-congested east side artery, Barnett Shoals Road.

The project’s developers requested that the item be removed from the commission’s agenda on Tuesday. Commissioners instead made the rare decision to hold a vote on the matter. District 8 Commissioner Carol Myers represents the neighborhood.

"Residents have been following this item and been actively involved for six months now," Myers said. "I owe it to the residents here to simply deny this proposal so we can all start fresh with the needed community involvement."

Denying the request outright means that the developer has to wait a year before submitting new plans for the site. Had commissioners taken the item off the agenda, the developers could have come back at any time with new, or slightly altered, plans. That was a move supported by District 6 Commissioner Jesse Houle.

"I have to imagine the applicant understands quite clearly that this or something very similar to it ain't going to pass on this Commission," they said. "I would like to think that the applicant would get more creative, would take seriously that despite trying to push it to the end, they didn't get where they wanted to be, and so now they've got to go back to the drawing board in a more significant way."

Commissioners voted 7-1 to deny the necessary rezoning for the project, effectively killing the measure.

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.