The East Ridge Planning Commission approved rezoning two lots on Boyd Street for the construction of a four-unit townhouse development, Monday during its regular monthly meeting at City Hall.
Local developers Robert Hudgens and James Anderson want to build four townhouses on the property at 1420 and 1422 Boyd Street, which is currently zoned single family residential (R-1). The townhouses would be between 1,400 and 1,500 square feet with anticipated purchase prices of between $180,000 and $200,000.
Kenny Custer, the city’s Director of Community Services and also the chief building official, told the commission that his staff favored the rezoning measure. He said that the townhouses would slightly increase population density in the neighborhood but would have no adverse effect on property values. Custer said another example of this type of zoning is off Frawley Road in the Villages at Frawley Lakes development.
The developers had no artist renderings of the townhouses they intend to build but said they would be similar to ones the partners have built in Fort Oglethorpe.
Hudgens, a lifelong resident of East Ridge, told the members of the planning commission that the townhouses would contribute to the resurgence of East Ridge. He said that the empty lots are producing a small amount of property taxes and the new townhouses would bring in more taxes and add appeal to the street.
Half a dozen residents and business owners from Boyd Street spoke out against the measure. Their concerns of the project ranged from inadequate parking to storm water drainage issues.
Jerry Lackey, a resident of the street, said the lot where the the townhouses are to be built is not big enough for four units. He said the concrete driveways for the townhouses would create more stormwater runoff and that parking for guests could be an issue. His biggest concern, however, was the prospect that the townhouses would become rental property.
Bill Birkhead, who has owned an automotive repair business on Boyd Street for many years, said the area has been plagued by drainage issues for years and the city has done nothing to address it. Birkhead believes the additional townhouses would add to those problems. In addition, he said there are sewer problems in the area that would also be exacerbated by more development.
Dan Crews, another business owner on the street, said that he has fought for 50 years to make the city address drainage issues. He believed the developers would raise the level of the lot before building the townhouses forcing stormwater to adjacent properties.
Dan Crews Jr., who runs a business on the street, said he was concerned about inadequate parking at the townhouses. Visitors to the townhouses may be forced to park on the street blocking access to his business.
East Ridge Planning Commission Chairman Mike Chauncey acknowledged that drainage was the biggest problem and that the city should address the issue. Chauncey, who is in the real estate industry, said it was his belief that the high design standards of the units with a relatively high asking price would discourage investors from buying townhouses and renting them.
Commission member Casey Tuggle was the only dissenting vote on the board. He said he favored transitional zoning like the one before the board, but that he voted no because the developers had no artist’s rendering of how the townhouses would appear and the concerns of the neighbors.
Chauncey announced that the rezoning would now be heard by the East Ridge City Council and that those opposed to the development would have an opportunity to make their cases before the council.