City Approves Rezoning Requests on First Reading

June 9, 2024
By: Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen Monday night adopted on first reading an ordinance to rezone property belonging to owner/developer Matt Stanley at Juniper Lane and Bell Street from R-1 (Low Density) Residential to R-2 (High Density) Residential. Second and final reading action is expected at the next meeting on July 1.

According to city officials, Stanley plans to develop a subdivision there.

Two nearby landowners, Melena Harrell and Steven Cantrell addressed the mayor and aldermen with concerns during the public comment period.

“I was concerned about this being passed basically because of the traffic on Juniper Lane,” said Harrell. “The road is 14 feet (wide) I think. I’m not sure if that is up to standards. Right now, we have buses trying to meet SUVs and traffic is like at a standstill there on Juniper Lane. I’m concerned about the safety issue of traffic on that road and the width of the road. Could there be any kind of consideration to it being widened on Juniper Lane with that amount of traffic coming in and out? Its just a very narrow street,” said Harrell.

City administrator Hunter Hendrixson said Stanley’s property with the R-1 zoning already qualifies for a subdivision. “I believe he is asking for the R-2 zoning to squeeze in a few more lots so its already going to be a subdivision. As far as the traffic, I don’t know but the Smithville Planning Commission’s recommendation was for this property to be rezoned from R-1 to R-2,” said Hendrixson.

According to the city’s zoning ordinance, the minimum lot area for a single-family dwelling in R-1 is 10,000 square feet and for R-2 its 7,500 square feet.

Cantrell’s said his concerns are about sufficient infrastructure such as streets and sidewalks for the proposed development.

“I have two properties that adjoin the area that Matt is proposing for the rezoning,” said Cantrell. “I don’t object to the rezoning. I do want to make sure that the infrastructure for that area is such that it can handle the number of houses that will be in the so-called subdivision. That is a main concern. For too many times I have seen in Smithville where we have had new housing developed and either the sidewalks aren’t there or the roads are not there,” Cantrell said. “I trust Matt. He is a good friend. I just need to make sure that the city and Matt, as they go forward, are in lock step so that the city ensures that the infrastructure is there as far as sidewalks and adequate streets so that the future citizens of Smithville that will be living in that area have that infrastructure to support them,” added Cantrell.

Mayor Josh Miller then asked City Public Works Director Kevin Robinson if there were any concerns about this proposed development.

“On water, sewer, and streets, no (there is no problem)”, said Robinson. “It has to be up to standards before its even passed. And we (city) don’t require sidewalks. That is up to the developer,” said Robinson.

In other business the aldermen approved on first reading an ordinance to rezone a portion of property on Kendra Drive belonging to Chris Allen from I-1 (Light Industrial) to R-2 (High Density) Residential. A public hearing will be held at the July 1 meeting followed by second reading action.

“I gave you (aldermen) a printout of where the old Georgia Girl factory is,” said City Administrator Hendrixson. “This is not on the Miller Road side but Kendra Drive. He (Allen) has requested, and the Smithville Planning Commission has recommended to the city council along with our planner Tommy Lee to rezone a small section from I-1 (Light Industrial) to R-2 (High Density) Residential to do an apartment or duplex, etc. but its only for a small part of the property,” said Hendrixson.

Meanwhile, the aldermen voted to donate to the DeKalb County Board of Education three quarters of an acre of property the city has long held adjacent to Smithville Elementary School. Mayor Miller said while the school board did not make this request, the city has no use for the small tract of property and thought it would be better suited for the school.

“This is the parcel by the Smithville Elementary School that we do nothing with other than put in man hours every week keeping it mowed and cleaned. Kids practice ball out there. They practice tee ball. It was donated to us years ago but now we don’t need it. I say let the school have it and do what they need to with it,” said Mayor Miller.

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