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Stone Mountain City Council denies rezoning request for housing development on West Mountain Street

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Stone Mountain City Council denies rezoning request for housing development on West Mountain Street

Minerva Homes Managing Partner, Brian Davison, presents development plan to City Council. Photo by Jaedon Mason

By Jaedon Mason, contributor 

Stone Mountain, GA — The Stone Mountain City Council voted to deny the rezoning request put forward by Minerva Homes for the 5305 / 5327 West Mountain Street property. 

Brian Davison, a managing partner of Minerva, previously said that his company originally planned 55 townhome units for the site, but after seeking feedback from the community, Minerva altered the original design to preserve a central green space and allow pedestrian movement around the site. The number of units was reduced from 55 townhomes to 18 detached single-family houses, and the design will conform to the existing architectural style of the neighborhood.

The request was to rezone the area bound by Manor Drive, Ridge Avenue, West Mountain Street and the train tracks, from Green Space to an Intown Neighborhood zoning, Before the vote, members of the community advocated for and against the development. 

Residents supporting the project pointed out that First Baptist Church has the right to sell the plot of land to Minerva Homes, even despite community objections, because it is their property, especially given the lack of a readily available, financially viable, alternative land use.  

Those opposed argued that replacing a potential greenspace in the heart of downtown with a subdivision was fundamentally at odds with the direction the city ought to be going in.

Roy Webb, Owner of Stone Mountain Public House across from the lot in question, went further.

“You know, I think this vote is going to be probably the single most important vote that this council will make….if they build houses there, that can’t be undone and that’s a legacy that’s on you all,” Webb said.

Jelani Linder, Board Chair of the Stone Mountain DDA was strongly in favor of the project, speaking twice in favor of it. 

Davison, with Minerva homes, presented a modified plan. He suggested not building four of the 18 homes if the city compensated him. Those lots could be used for more greenspace.

“[This plan] is an attempt by us to appease literally everybody. We’re not going to ever get there, but I think everything we propose tries to meet as many of the desires of the community that we can,” Davison said.

There were two votes on the requested rezoning, One to accept the request and one to deny it, both failed with votes of 2-3 and 3-2, respectively. With Council Members Cox, voting one way and them voting the other. 

In other news:

— The city manager reported the city has posted an RFP for a communications contract, primarily aimed at sourcing services for maintaining the website and assisting the city with other digital communications.

— City Manager Darnetta Tyus also updated the council on the progress of the ongoing work on Rockborough Drive, reiterating the project would be completed in stages, specifically pointing to two sinkholes that would need to be addressed first before work on improving the road itself could begin.

 The Council voted unanimously to:

— Approve a special use permit for a meadery in the same building as the coffee roastery at 5379 West Mountain Blvd. 

— Approve an emergency accounting services contract

— Approved a contract modification for work at Sexton Drive, even with the modification the project is under budget at $162,227   

— Appoint Mark Marianos to the Historical Preservation committee  Approved an estimate to re-key City facilities

Sara Amis contributed to this story.

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