The 3.38 acres at Pine and Chattahoochee streets was zoned for single family residential homes, but the application by Prime Interest, Inc. asked for rezoning to a townhouse category.
The proposed new units will look like single family residences but will be no more than 10 feet apart and connected by arbors and fences.
That qualifies them for the revised zoning as attached units, according to city Planning and Zoning Director Brad Townsend.
A developer-built public road will run through the site plan which “almost extends Pine Street to Chattahoochee Street,” said Kenneth Wood, who was representing the developer and builder.
The homes in the as yet unnamed neighborhood will start at 2,500 square feet and prices would begin in the high $300,000s, Wood said.
The city’s planning commission in February recommended denial of the application, with some board members stating that they felt the developer was attempting to put too much in too little space.
Prior to Monday’s council hearing, the city received five form letters of support for the site plan application. But a handful of prospective neighbors turned up at the hearing to voice their opposition.
Bonnie Lieget, who lives on Chattahoochee Street, said if half the units were removed from the plan it would be more agreeable.
“There are too many houses for that small piece of property,” she said. “I don’t understand why we have to develop every ounce of land we have in the city. It’s too much.”
It fell to Councilwoman Nancy Diamond, the council’s liaison to community development, to make a motion for a vote.
“This is hard one,” she said, noting the “mixed message” she got from residents both for and against the plan. “We have a shortage of housing like this.”
The development would be a good transition between the commercial area along Atlanta Street and the residential areas around it, she said.
As to whether there are too many homes for the acreage, the city’s regulations have an impact on the final count, Diamond said.
“One person’s nestled is another person’s crammed. . .By the time they meet all our requirements, they need a certain number of homes to make it work.”
She moved for approval of the application, and it passed, 4 to 2, with Councilwoman Betty Price and Councilman Kent Igleheart dissenting.
“The biggest concern for me is we are talking zoning for town homes, and these are faux town homes,” Igleheart said. “It’s putting a single family peg into a town home hole.”