Commissioners upheld staff recommendations to adhere to the shopping center’s agreement with surrounding neighborhoods, including a list of 52 businesses excluded from the property, like “beauty shop.”
Shopping center developer and zoning modification applicant John Di Giovanni of Inland Atlantic Georgia Old National Venture LLC asked for approval because the proposed tenant is a “beauty studio.”
“This is different,” he said about the tenant’s focus on chemotherapy patients and entertainment industry clients. “They have exhibited a difference from the standard beauty salon and therefore should not be considered within the category but, in fact, a beauty studio.”
Di Giovanni said the business has support from the Old National Merchants Association.
Michael Venable of the Old National Community Alliance said a difference in semantics did not alter its prohibited use.
“Regardless of it doing something extra or different, it still falls in that category,” he said.
Venable said the business did not fit in with efforts to revitalize the corridor.
“Four to five years before dirt was turned on this property, it was clear that this type of activity already exasperated itself in the community and we had a chance to start something new and fresh,” he said.
Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards, in whose district the property lies, said there was no compelling reason to make an exception.
“I haven’t found enough here to untie me from that  overlay district even with a letter from the Old National Merchants Association,” he said. “The second piece would have been to have a letter from the community. Without that and with it not fitting into the definition of a hardship and knowing the prohibited uses, I have nothing to hang my hat on.”