Plans to allow development on old hospital property
ATHENS–The Athens City Council issued a proclamation making the week of March 11 through 15 Athens Thrift Store week in the city, urging the citizens of Athens to stop by and appreciate the volunteer staff for all they do for the community.
The organization was founded in 2010 and since that time has given $677,000 to area non-profit organizations, all while providing a place where people can buy gently used items at a low price to meet their needs. On Feb. 14, the Thrift Store distributed nearly $100,000 to 20 local organizations with each one receiving $4,700.
The item on the agenda regarding the old hospital property at 405 Lindsey Lane was moved up on the agenda to allow the citizens in the audience to speak on further plans for the property, which has been appraised for $152,000. The property consists of approximately 3.6 acres and has utilities and curbs already in place, something advantageous to a potential developer.
The comments varied from those like Mark Carroll who said, “I am hopeful that we sell it and give someone the chance to develop it into something nice… generating tax revenue,” to those like Lacey Lowry whose letter was read in the meeting that she had spoken to the property owners who saw and had to live with the deterioration of the old building along with the problems it brought such as crime and that she was not for selling, preferring that it be turned into a park that area residents could enjoy. Lowry reminded the council that the property owners had brought forth a petition in 2016, requesting that very thing.
In the end, after hearing all the comments, the direction to City Manager Elizabeth Borstad was to pursue rezoning to Multi Family 2 with a planned development overlay. Borstad said that if the property were purchased and the buyer wished to use it for something else, it would have to go before Planning and Development before that could happen.
Councilman Ed McCain said, “We have a responsibility to those homeowners who had to watch the deterioration of the property, to protect them. We have to keep our hands around this…They (the homeowners) have been through too much.”
In other business, council members:
• approved the appointment of Brandon Smith to the Planning and Zoning Commission
• heard first reading concerning proposed amendments to various sections of the Zoning Ordinance regarding accessory building regulations.
• discussed first reading of an ordinance concening a request from Marisa George for approval of a zoning change from Single Family 10 to Two-Family Residential for Lot 7 of Block 12 of the T. Parmer Survey A-782 at 801 Maryland Drive. Two written protests and two verbal were received and denial was recommended by Planning and Zoning.