The City of Hinesville Mayor and Council voted down a request by the Hinesville Housing Authority to rezone 11.76 acres of land they intended to develop for low incoming housing. The 3-2 vote was done during the June 4 regular city council meeting held via Zoom and posted to Facebook.
Councilmen Keith Jenkins and Jason Floyd voted in favor. Council members Karl Riles, Diana Reid and Vicky Nelson voted against.
The proposed project was to build three, 3-story apartment buildings and five 1-story apartment buildings on the property currently owned by the Hinesville Housing Authority and tucked in the middle of the Arlington Subdivision off E.G. Miles Parkway.
Councilwoman Reid said she had received petitions with more than 200 signatures as well as several letters from people who lived in the area opposing the proposed development.
Mayor and Council listened to people both for and against the project before voting down the rezoning measure.
“The main opposition was the textbook, not in my backyard,” HHA Director Melanie Thompson said adding most liked the idea for more affordable housing just not the location. Thompson said some of the low-income housing already located within that area is 70 years old and in need of severe maintenance. She said the project offers new opportunity in areas that are currently underdeveloped.
“We need to act now to add more housing in our portfolio,” she said.
HHA Board Chair Joe Ford said the HHA is constantly challenged to increase affordable housing. “We are looking for other opportunities to develop but this already exists on property we own,” he said. “We know people are opposed but if we can make improvement to the traffic, we think it will be beneficial to all.”
Many of those opposed to the new development are in favor of more affordable housing but say that it is an increase in traffic in an already heavily traveled area that is the basis for their opposition.
Ricky Parks said a new development in that area will, “will create a traffic nightmare and create a hazardous situation if a possible 400 plus residents are allowed to move into the area,” he said adding it would also increase crime.
Those who were opposed also said they were never contacted by the HHA regarding the planning and development of the proposed project.
“This piece does not fit this puzzle,” Arlington resident Robert Brooks said. “Not in the middle
of an existing subdivision that already has only 2 intersections in and out…it’s about safety.”
The intersection of Arlington Drive and E.G. Miles has been the site of several car accidents throughout the years.
The Mayor and Council approved the final plat phase for the development of 27 lots for single family homes off Marne Blvd.
They also approved the proposed the redevelopment of the Handy Land Service Station and convenience store at the intersection of M.L.K. and Oglethorpe Highway. The old station is being replaced with a new Parker’s Gas and convenience store.
The Mayor and Council approved a special permit use to redevelop the former Bank of America Building on Gen Screven Way. The owners of Extreme Audio have bought the property to expand their business.