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Changes to discourage apartments adopted
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The Conyers city council approved several ordinance changes designed to discourage apartments and multi-family residences by requiring more costly and visually appealing building specifications at the Wednesday night council meeting.

The regulations for townhouses and the design requreiments passed in a unanimous vote, with second readings waived. The city council also lifted the moratorium on multi-family zoning that had been issued in June.

The required size for townhomes increased. A one-bedroom increased from 900 to 1000 square feet; a two bedroom from 1050 to 1200 square feet; a three-bed room from 1250 to 1400 square feet; a four-bed room from 1400 to 1500 square feet.

Architechtural requirements now call for 50 percent of the exterior to be brick, stone, or hardy plank on all four sides; a screen for retention ponds; and two car garages located in the rear.

For residential multi-unit buildings, the square footage requirements increased and all units are now required to be within 1000 feet of open space.

Councilman Marty Jones asked if the laws addressed condominium style ownership of a townhouse development. "I want to make sure we're allowing them both."

"If you've got condominium documents, they're stronger on enforcing your dues than a mandatory homeowner's association," said Jones.

"Legally, what can we do to restrict garden-style apartments in the city... I think this accomplishes our goal," said Jones.

Councilman Vince Evans commended Jones and his eye and reading for the numbers and ordinance descriptions. "I appreciate the fact these numbers come alive when you look at them," said Evans.


In other city council business:

The city took another step towards widening Railroad Street by approving a contract of not more than $24,050 for the services of a right-of-way negotiator.

The project is expected to cost about $800,000, funded from the 2005 SPLOST, for widening Railroad Street from its current 18 foot width to 21 feet wide for the length from Center Street to West Avenue. CSX has placed a deadline for the project to be finished by October 2012.


The council also approved the rezoning of a former funeral home at 1299 Milstead Avenue owned by Councilman Chris Bowen from residential single-family to office-institutional. The funeral home, the former site of the Scot Ward Funeral home Harry White chapel, had been grandfathered in previously. Ward moved out of the Harry White chapel and opened a new funeral home in February at the Green Meadows Memorial Gardens on Ga. Highway 138.

Stipulations include a screen of 50 feet between the funeral home and nearby residential homes and for the driveway to become a one-way driveway should the building be used for anything else than a funeral home.

Although only four of the six councilmembers were at the meeting - Councilman Gerald Hinesley and Mayor Randy Mills were absent - and although Councilman Chris Bowen recused himself from the vote, the three voting members were considered a quorum, according to city spokesperson Jennifer Edwards.