By Taelor Rye
Although Greg, Todd and Merle Peacock were not present for the Eastman City Council’s meeting on August 24, the council nonetheless voted to approve Eastman Planning and Zoning’s recommendation not to change the zoning for an area including Wright Drive and 2nd Avenue from R-1 to R-2.
R1 and R2 are residential designations essentially indicating the difference in the number of family units on a given property.
According to Article VI, §62.1 of the Appendix A of the Eastman City Code, “Single-family detached dwelling for one housekeeping unit only… Trailer parks and/or mobile home parks are expressly prohibited in the R-1 district.”
Additionally, Article VII, §72.2 addresses R-2 districting: “Multiple-family dwelling units for any number of families will be permitted in an R-2 zone.”
Before making its vote, the council allowed a period of audience participation for or against the impending decision from the council in lieu of the Peacocks’ own proposal.
During this period, several speakers who did not formally identify themselves to the council spoke on the alleged potential damage that rezoning the area would impose.
One said, “When we read about it in the paper, they were calling it apartments, then when we got to the [planning and zoning] meeting last week, they were calling it not condominiums but townhouses. We don’t understand where it got changed.”
Another stated, “I live in that neighborhood, and even if you ‘R-2’ just that particularly piece of property, it’s still going to affect that neighborhood in a negative way… Most of the people in that area are already congested.” She went on to explain the damages to her own property concerning city sewage, stating that there are already existing issues yet to be addressed and that adding multi-family dwellings would worsen the problem.
Jerry McCranie, on behalf of her mother, spoke on the devaluation of existing property that such a project would cause.
One other citizen requested information regarding trailers within city limits, and city council member Milton Johnson answered that part of the city code may allow them as R-1A.
In fact, Article VI, §62.3 (J) of Appendix A of the city code states that “Single family mobile homes or single-family manufactured homes” may be allowed in an R-1 district, and §63 states that “Any use permitted in an R-1 zone shall apply in the R-1A Single-Family district,” including a single-family trailer.
However, rezoning to R-2 would allow the potential for trailer parks, according to Article VII, §72.5.
Regardless, the idea of rezoning at all was a moot point to the council.
City council member Raymond Mullis stated that his vote to approve planning and zoning’s declination of the rezoning request was based on not knowing what was going to be built on the property.
Johnson mirrored that, with the “absence of a site plan to see what’s coming there… it’s going to be hard for me to vote in favor of it [rezoning].”
He then clarified, “I do feel that the proposal for the project is not far off from where the city wants to go with their comprehensive plan. There are some elements to it that I could be in favor of, but… [due to] the absence of a plan to actually see what is coming or what is being proposed to be brought, I’m not with it.”
Pittman stated, “This is my district… I have a big question, and it’s been echoed: what’s going there? I’ve heard for months that it’s low-income housing, and from architectural design, this is all I saw last week [at the planning and zoning meeting].”
Pittman then held up a picture of the proposed building that was presented at the planning and zoning committee, commenting, “This is real nice. It’s extremely nice: three-story condominiums with garages on the bottom floor and two floors of living areas on the top two. There’s going to be elevators in some of them… but there were no plans – no site plans.”
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The Indian defense gets ready to face the Royal offense during the first quarter. (Photo by Kim McCleskey Dowdy)