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Gainesville council to rule on 3 zoning requests
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Gainesville City Council meeting
What: Council will give the first of two votes on three zoning issues. The city’s Planning and Appeals Board has recommended approval of two of the three requests
When: Public hearing and meeting, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Georgia Mountains Center, 301 Main St., Gainesville

Three zoning items, two of which have incensed neighboring property owners, will be decided Tuesday by the Gainesville City Council.

The council will hold public hearings on the items at 5:30 p.m. at the Georgia Mountains Center before voting for the first time whether to approve the zonings.

Neighbors showed up with a petition at a zoning board meeting last month asking the city to limit the number of driveways providing access to a planned neighborhood grocery store on Dawsonville Highway. Bill Dupree has requested to annex and rezone more than 10.6 acres of property in and around the site of the former Lakeshore Heights nursing home.

Dupree plans to build a restaurant, professional offices and a 15,000-square-foot neighborhood supermarket on the site.

The developer has asked that the city allow him to build a driveway on the Beechwood Boulevard side of the development in addition to an access point on Dawsonville Highway. The developer says the potential buyer of the property — described as a grocery store chain that primarily exists in the Southeast — wants the access to the residential street in order to purchase the property.

Residents of the Beechwood Boulevard neighborhood have told city planners they are in favor of the development, but opposed to the access from their residential street. At last month’s zoning meeting, two residents said they were worried that the Beechwood access would create traffic problems and encroach on their neighborhood.

A majority of the city’s Planning and Appeals Board voted in February to recommend approval of the rezoning and allow for the driveway on Beechwood Boulevard.

The City Council on Tuesday also will hear two zoning requests from groups seeking permission for temporary living facilities for women who have lost their homes and men recovering from substance addictions.

One has been given a unanimous endorsement by the planning board and the other has been given a recommendation of denial.

City planners supported a request from My Sister’s Place to gain a special-use permit that would allow the nonprofit to turn a five-unit apartment complex on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard into transitional for women and children who have lost their homes.

But all five members of the board voted to recommend that the city deny a request to allow Harold Hinchman to rezone a Park Street property to allow for a residential program for men recovering from drug and alcohol addictions after numerous requests by neighbors to deny the use.

Hinchman, owner of Agora House for Men, is illegally using the two-story home at 1050 Park Street. The property is zoned as a single-family residence; it’s accompanying Residential-I zoning does not allow for group homes.

Hinchman has asked that the city rezone the property to a more group-home friendly Residential-II with a special-use permit that would make the group home legal.

The group home owner already is involved in a lawsuit with the city over a 2007 decision denying him the same needed permits to operate a group home in a Residential-II zoning district.

A number of his neighbors in the Park Street area have opposed his most recent request, saying Hinchman has disrespected them and the city’s ordinances by operating illegally in the city. Others say their single-family neighborhood is not an appropriate place to house a group home.

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