VALDOSTA — The Greater Lowndes Planning Commission wants more affordable housing to be available in the city limits. So they unanimously opposed a city staff recommendation Monday night to require a developer to build more than 240 homes on lots of a minimum size of 8,000 square feet.

Instead, the Planning Commission voted 7-0, on a motion by Commissioner Jennifer Powell, to recommend that the city allow the developer to build homes on 247 lots of a minimum lot size of 6,000 square feet. That will permit homes of 1,200 to 1,400 square feet—and provide more affordable homes.

The developer’s plan to build the subdivision on 79.25 acres on the northeast corner of Forrest Street and Knights Academy Road made its way before the Planning Commission in the form of a combined request to annex into the city, to rezone the property to multi-family residential (R-6) and single family residential (R-6S), and to grant a special exception to allow Abundant Life Church of God to build a new 42,000 square foot church facility on the property.

The residential subdivision would connect to the existing Branch Point subdivision located on adjacent land.

The matter now goes to the Valdosta City Council for final consideration. The council meets next at 5:30 p.m. April 10 at City Hall.

Project engineer Shawn Starling and Abundant Life Pastor Wayne Hughes drew support from Valdostan Bill Gandy in their quest to convince the planning commission to move against city staff’s requirement that the homes be built on the 8,000 square foot minimum lot size.

“We are desperately needing affordable housing in this city,” Gandy said. “Not everyone can live in Stone Creek or Kinderlou Forest. We need homes that teachers, law enforcement officers and others can afford. Young people, too, cannot afford $200,000 homes.

“Right now we’re driving everyone out of the city to Berrien and surrounding counties,” Gandy continued. “I hate to see us creating lots where no one can afford to buy a house in the city limits of Valdosta.”

In other business Monday night, the Planning Commission:

lRecommended approval annexation/rezoning requests for six parcels comprising 18.29 acres on the west side of Bemiss north of Skipper Bridge Road; two parcels comprising 1.93 acres on the west side of Bemiss just south of Cherry Creek Church Road; and 20 parcels comprising 21.64 acres on the east and west side of Bemiss just south of Skipper Bridge Road.

lRecommended approval of a request by the city of Hahira to annex and rezone 70.17 acres from County Planned Development to City Single Family Residential. The developer would build 149 homes on the property, and the city of Hahira has agreed to provide the development with water and sewer service. The matter goes before the Hahira City Council at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (April 1) for final consideration.

lRecommended approval of a Lowndes County request by Richard Wagner to rezone 13.81 acres from agricultural uses to commercial. The property is located next to the northern gateway of Dasher city limits. The matter goes to the Lowndes County Commission at 5:30 p.m. April 8 for final consideration.

lRecommended approval of a Lowndes County request by Louie Radney Jr. to rezone 23 acres on Shiloh Road from an active farm use to residential agriculture. Radney intends to subdivide the property to a potential 9 tracts. The matter goes to the Lowndes County Commission April 8 for final consideration.

lRecommended approval of a city of Valdosta request by Danny Davis to rezone 3.676 acres at 605 St. Augustine Rd. to community commercial so the developer can build a 10,000 square foot family-style restaurant and 12,000 square feet of retail space. The matter goes to the Valdosta City Council for final consideration on April 10.

lRecommended approval of a request by Joseph O’Brien to rezone .26 acres at 1310 Baytree Rd. to community commercial so O’Brien can build a new location for his business, Valdosta Hearing Aid Center. The matter goes to the Valdosta City Council for final consideration on April 10.

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