Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

January 25, 2013

McAlister appeals housing removal

Council postpones decision until Housing Commission reviews issues

VALDOSTA — McAlister Development Company appealed to the Valdosta City Council Thursday evening over an issue with the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) that is preventing the company from beginning construction on a mixed-use development intended for college students.

In October, Council approved the rezoning of the block bounded by Brookwood Drive, North Toombs Street, West Ann Street and North Oak Street to community-commercial for the development of a four-story living and shopping complex intended for student living.

At the Nov. 5 meeting of the HPC, McAlister requested permission to relocate or demolish 11 houses standing on the block to make way for the development.

The HPC approved relocation of the houses with the condition that McAlister make a “good faith effort” to relocate the houses for a period of 90 days, after which time McAlister would be allowed to apply for demolition of the remaining houses.

McAlister began the process, but relocation of the houses “got a little cumbersome,” according to attorney Bill Nijem, speaking on behalf of McAlister.

“McAlister doesn’t own the property yet, so it’s tough to contract with people to move these houses,” Nijem said. “And nobody knows what’s going to happen if these houses aren’t removed. We’re in a catch-22.”

Nijem explained that McAlister could not apply for loans for the multi-million-dollar project when demolition permits were still not issued, and without the loans, development could not begin.

At the center of the issue, McAlister was aiming to have construction complete by the start of the fall semester of 2014, to cater to new students looking for living solutions. Missing this window could spell major losses.

McAlister approached the HPC with the issue, and suggested that the commission approve demolition permits effective in March, pending the

continued good-faith effort to remove the houses. This would allow the company to make some headway.

“We’re running out of time, and we need an official date of issue for the demolition,” Nijem said.

Nijem reported that McAlister spoke with more than 200 realtors about the availability of the houses and with Habitat for Humanity (which remarked it was less expensive to build new houses). The company advertised the houses—sold for $10 each plus the cost of relocation—and currently has 10 to 15 individuals interested in purchase.

Nijem explained the company is taking care to ensure these interested parties plan to relocate the houses to a vacant property and not simply dismantle them for materials, and the process has been slow and not very promising.

After hearing Nijem’s appeal, the Council Member Deidra White motioned to postpone a decision on the appeal with the condition that the HPC reconsider McAlister’s concerns at their next meeting Feb. 4. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

“I’d like to give the process one more chance to work,” White said. “I agree that this development is good for the city, and that it will have a positive impact by a private developer that will help protect single-family housing by creating walkability.”

The City Council also unanimously approved:

• an ordinance to establish qualifying fees and dates for the 2013 City of Valdosta Municipal Election. Fees to run for office were set at $465 for City Council seats and $35 for school board.

• a bid for Scott air packs for the Valdosta Fire Department that will allow firefighters to breathe in smoke-filled areas, at a cost of $247,885.

• the abandonment of an easement within the Drury Inn development area.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • flood4c.jpg Flood warning extended

    A flood warning for the Withlacoochee River at Valdosta has been extended until Wednesday afternoon.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • doug henderson.jpg Memorial tourney returns

    The Doug Henderson III Memorial Golf Tournament has raised thousands of dollars for scholarship funds and to help organizations throughout the region.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914-WA-Egghunt021.jpg Park puts wild spin on Easter tradition

    Adventurous egg hunters braved overcast skies and a persistent drizzle to search for hidden prizes Saturday during Wild Adventure’s first Ostrich Egg Hunt.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • FallenTree003.JPG More spills reported

    City of Valdosta employees have spent the weekend responding to spills caused by several inches of rain that have again drenched the city during the past few days.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Underwater Easter_Rich copy.jpg Stories behind ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’

    Christ comes from the Greek word, “Christos,” meaning “the anointed one.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418_valwood001.jpg Valwood students register to vote

    Valwood teaches its students about the importance of voting. Each year, the school has encouraged eligible seniors to register to vote and participate in local elections.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • wadebrandon14.jpg Police still seeking missing mother, son

    Though their assignments have changed during the past dozen years, Valdosta Police Capt. Bobbi McGraw and Sgt. Chris Crews continue working the case of a missing mother and her son.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • 041814-TreeDownonRobinHood.jpg Minor flooding expected

    Minor flooding of the Withlacoochee River is expected this weekend thanks to the day-long rains across South Georgia Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814-TreeDownonRobinHood.jpg Wastewater hazards assessed

    During heavy rain events, five to 15 manholes throughout the city are at risk of overflowing into local waterways, according to the City of Valdosta.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418-VSU_HSBA003.jpg Valdosta State cuts ribbon for health, business building

    Eighteen months after breaking ground on the project, Valdosta State University held the official ribbon cutting Friday for its Health Sciences and Business Administration Building.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results