Albany-Dougherty Planning Commission approves rezoning, variance requests

Staff recommends approval of requests brought before Planning Commission

ALBANY — The Albany-Dougherty Planning Commission OK’d a rezoning request and a variance application with little discussion during a brief meeting Thursday afternoon.

The board approved an application by Marvin Summerlin to allow for the location of a religious institution on .18 acre of land at 1181 E. Clark Ave., a variance that sets aside a city/county zoning ordinance that requires such facilities be located on at least 1 acre of land.

The property, which includes an existing building that had previously been used as a chapel for a nearby funeral home, is located in a mixed-use neighborhood that includes a number of nearby vacant lots.

Senior Planner Rozanne Braswell said staff recommended approving the variance because the only potential difficulty created by locating the institution on the smaller lot is a “self-imposed difficulty.”

Todd Lanier of Lanier Engineering, which served as applicant for the rezoning request at 1300 Owens Ave., said the request involves overall improvement and subdivision of former military housing in the SJE Development project known as St. John’s Estates.

“The purpose of the rezoning request is to allow for subdivision of existing duplexes into town homes that will be developed and sold,” Senior Planner Mary Teter said.

SJE asked that the 25.486-acre property’s current zoning designations, C-1 (neighborhood mixed-use business) and R-3 (single-family and two-family residential), be rezoned to C-R (community residential multiple-dwelling). The C-R zoning would allow for town homes not allowed under C-1 and R-3 zoning.

“That property was formerly military housing, so there were no internal property lines on each structure,” Lanier said. “The plan is to, essentially, put property lines down the middle of the duplexes and develop and sell them as townhouses.”

Asked about infrastructure improvements and asbestos abatement by board members Hamp Smith and Sanford Hillsman, respectively, Lanier said improvements were being made in both areas “as they do the work, section by section.”

Like the variance application, the rezoning request was approved unanimously by the board. Both issues now go before the Albany City Commission for final approval.