Overlay districts could protect Savannah neighborhoods

Overlay districts could protect Savannah neighborhoods

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The City of Savannah is making moves to improve the quality of life in the 3rd district.

The City created overlay districts - that would add more standards to protect the residential integrity of neighborhoods.

“I’ve been around here all my life and this now is a mess,” said District 3 resident Gena Mitchell.

Gena Mitchell has lived in Savannah’s third district since the 1960′s. She says she has never seen it like it is now.

“A lot of drugs. A lot of alcohol. So I do think there should be a change in our community. Really a big change.”

A change like implementing alcohol overlay districts.

Last month, city council approved a temporary pause on any new alcohol licenses for convenience and package stores within the district.

Now, they’re looking for feedback from residents on where the overlay districts should go.

“There is a real concern about the youth in the community and how they are exposed to certain things and we want to make sure that they are protected as well as the property values of those people who live around these areas,” said Bridget Lidy, Director of City of Savannah Planning and Urban Design. “And unfortunately there are owners that are out there that are not doing things in the best interest of the community that they serve.”

Lidy also says overlay districts prevent businesses from coming into areas and attracting littering, loitering or gambling.

District 3 Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan says several places like these have popped up in her community.

“I just want people to know, in the third district, we have a higher standard. And I don’t care who you are and what type of business that you have. We’re going to have these community partnerships and we want people to give back to our community,” said Wilder-Bryan.

Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan hopes the overlays will keep people who don’t live in the district but have businesses there from negatively impacting them.

“They’ve got loitering and prowling. And I think that we all need to do better.”

Mitchell believes with Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan and the City involved, it can happen.

" I want to see things change. Not all these businesses popping up taking our dollars, but give something back. With all of these businesses here. We could have something somewhere for our children. My grandkids,” said Mitchell.

The City’s Department of Planning and Urban Design will update the council on the plans next month.

They want District 3 residents to take a survey to give them input about where to put the overlays and more.

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