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Council rezones for downtown apartments
Planning session this week looks at an aging Hinesville
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The Hinesville city council approved a request Thursday to rezone 4.6 acres at 310 W. Memorial Drive, clearing the way for a 72-unit apartment complex.

The zoning was changed from manufactured home park to a multi-family dwelling district.

The request was made by Hidden Glen, Inc., that plans to build 72 garden-style apartments on the site for single parents, small families, couples and retirees. The council approved the request, noting the project is in strict conformance with the Memorial Corridor Sub-Area Plan.

“We like the area because of its proximity to the bus line and walkability to other areas downtown,” said John Saxton, representative for Affordable Homes, the developer working with Hidden Glen. “We see a lot of potential for West Memorial Drive.”

George Holtzman, owner of Caldwell Banker, Holtzman Realtors, who is serving as broker for the project, told council members the proposed apartment complex conforms to the Liberty County Comprehensive Plan and Fort Stewart Joint Land Use Study. He said the developer is working with a church adjoining the property about any concerns they might have.

Another information item concerning the Memorial Drive area was discussed by the council. The Hinesville Coastal Community for All Ages Charrette is planned for May 22-24. The charrette, a planning session involving residents, leaders, organizations and planners, will focus on programs available to an aging population.

According to information read by Krystal Britton, Hinesville public relations manager, 1.5 million Georgians will be older than 65 by 2020. Most of these “baby boomers” will want to “age in place” in their existing homes, she said.

A survey of residents to evaluate the city’s “age readiness” will include the Memorial Drive corridor, bounded to the north and west by Gen. Stewart Way, to the east by Highway 84 and to the south by Bagley Avenue and Liberty Street.

Other information items heard by the council Thursday included a proposed revised sign ordinance and the status of the west side annexation project. The first action item considered was approved for the lowest bidder to retrofit the Pineland 1 pump station, which is currently operating at 50 percent capacity due to inadequate piping. The bid by Palm Coast Utilities for $82,680 was approved.

Re-appointments to the citizens sign appeals board were approved for Katherine McCartney and Julian Jones. They will serve another three years. Although listed as an action item, a dedication ceremony renaming Frank Cochran Drive as Veterans Parkway will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday in a vacant lot near Silver Ash at E.G. Miles Parkway and Veterans Parkway.

Approval of a policy for the Minority and Women Business Enterprise Program was put on hold pending further study during the next executive work session.

Michelle Lane, grant writer for the city, said the Downtown Development Authority is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture for reimbursement funds totaling $73,397 for a new electronic benefit transfer for customers and vendors at Hinesville’s weekly farmers market.

The request, which was written by Lane and Vicki Davis, HDDA director, to promote “producer-to-consumer marketing opportunities,” was unanimously approved. Part of the cost for the reimbursement was a $13,000 Kawasaki 4010 “mule” to be used to transport supplies from storage to the open-air market.

A peddler’s license was approved for Sharon Robinson to operate a mobile sandwich and ice cream operation, and the council approved a proposal to continue with existing health care provider, Consumer’s Life and Guardian Insurance.
Although total annual costs for the city increased by $20,500, compared to other health care coverage options, the current health care coverage provided greater coverage at a cheaper rate than other insurance companies, City Manager Billy Edwards explained.

Throughout the city council proceedings, Youth Challenge cadets with two adult supervisors had front-row seats to observe the operations of a city government. In fact, the session began with recognition and welcoming of the group by Mayor Jim Thomas and council members.

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