‘We are in desperate need of housing’, Garden City pauses industrial rezoning applications for six months

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 10:18 PM EDT
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GARDEN CITY, Ga. (WTOC) - The home city for the Georgia Ports Authority is pausing all applications for industrial rezoning.

Garden City leaders announced a 6-month pause while they figure out how to make the city more residential.

It’s mainly because of their proximity to the Georgia Ports. They get a lot of industrial applications that are leaving little room to build more housing.

The city pulled a couple of applications developers were supposed to present to city council Monday night and some people are backing the decision.

“We are in desperate need of housing,” said MonaLisa Monroe, President of the Garden City Housing Team.

That’s what Garden City leaders are working on by putting a pause on industrial rezoning applications.

“You don’t have a city if you don’t have residents,” said Scott Robider, the city manager of Garden City. “We need rooftops and actual citizens here and not just businesses.”

Garden City’s city manager said they were seeing far too many industrial and commercial inquiries with no interest in residential.

Robider said, “sometimes multiple inquiries a day.”

The mayor said what hit home for him was how development could possibly impact older, established neighborhoods.

“The warehouse would’ve been within 150 feet of the backyard and I told Scott, we have to do something,” said Mayor Don Bethune.

It’s a decision the Garden City Housing Team is grateful for.

“When I heard that, I was elated because we’ve been begging and pleading for residential zoning,” Monroe said.

The city said the moratorium might not make everyone happy.

“It’s caused some discomfort from our developers and folks looking to have developments done here, but if we don’t push pause now, I don’t know where we go from here,” Robider said.

The housing team has been waiting to begin and they said this is just the start they needed.

Monroe said, “the first thing we want to do is what we do best – renovate, rehab housing and prayerfully, hopefully, in the future 2023/24...we want to start building.”

The Garden City Housing Team said this came at the right time as they plan to find ways to use a $400,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for more rehabbing and renovation.

Garden City said any rezoning applications received before May 2 aren’t affected.

The moratorium will consist of city leaders taking a look at the comprehensive plan, ordinance changes to industrial property and meeting with developers and builders.

During the pause, they will accept industrial rezoning applications, but they won’t act on them.

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