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‘Historic’ Athens City Hall meeting on proposal that threatens single-family zones Countywide

By John Totten

This Tuesday, Dec. 5 at City Hall a historic meeting will determine the future of all historic districts and all single family zoned areas of this Classic City.

A measure pending final approval by the mayor and county commissioners could affect your ability to enjoy the sanctity of your own home going forward.

An existing rental duplex (grandfathered in at the formation of the Bloomfield Historic District) at 120 W. Cloverhurst Ave. may soon become a legal triplex and short-term rental.

No breezeways exist in the historic district or Athens generally nor are they a feature in historic homes yet this is about to be approved. Why?  Because it is simply an unlawful dodge to evade  the traditional Historic Planning Commission review of accessory structures under published guidelines which would not permit these larger structures to be built.

You see, new procedures can be implemented but only after the proposed  procedures are published in the local paper of record - In this case, The Athens-Banner Herald - and the public is able to review and comment before final regulations are published.  Notably these requirements (generally referred to as “Sunshine or Good Government Laws”) allow citizens to be informed and involved in their local governmet process.

The non-resident owner (with the property already containing a duplex) has chosen a design that features a garage attached to the main residence by a breezeway and which has access to the living area over the garage exactly at the opposite end of the structure from the main duplex via exterior stairs & door AND a 12’ x 8’ party deck visually overlooking my kitchen, living area, & front porch.  Just imagine that just sixteen feet away from my first floor kitchen and study and just another 14 feet ( 30 feet total) from my first floor bedroom  are party hearty strangers drinking and laughing it up! - just a terrible and irresponsible design!! This 76 yr old Vietnam combat veteran’s peace, quiet & forever home will be destroyed!  Even worse -  this whole unofficial “Breezeway” procedure could easily be used in every single-family neighborhood if made official,  

Of course many, if not most of these, will become  Air BnB/short-turn rentals so be assured complete strangers will be coming to your neighborhood. This has already happened at the very same house I am referring to,  In this case disoriented strangers tried to enter both front and rear doors while two elementary school students were at home.  Are you ready for that kind of heart-stopping drama, perhaps at night, perhaps intoxicated?  

Do you know that ironically there is currently a moratorium on short turn rentals even as the Mayor and Commissioners meet Tuesday December 5 @6:00 in City Hall to make a decision

affecting my “forever home” and yours as well????

ACTION:

 EMAIL  your Commissioner & Mayor and register your concern.  Come to the meeting to show your concern.  Register to speak to VOICE your concern (3 minutes max,)

KEEP THE CLASSIC CITY CLASSIC & NOT BECOME A MOTEL !!

John Tottenn resides on Bloomfield Street in Athens

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