Athens Planning Commission Considers Zoning Language Change

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The Athens City Planning Commission will wait to decide what recommendations to make to City Council regarding zoning code language.  

The group made its decision at a meeting this afternoon. 
The Athens Board of Zoning Appeals is waiting for City Council to change the code language as a result of the debate caused by the sale of the Bella Vino building on Stimson Avenue.
Athens businessman Ric Wasserman purchased the specialty wine store with the intention of razing the building and constructing student rental housing on the property. Questions arose about accepting first-floor parking as a business for city code purposes.    
Any case dealing with a B-2 business zone is indefinitely postponed until it's clear what constitutes a first-floor business.  
Despite this decision, the Commission received some criticism for how it operates.  
"I think that anybody who has a legitimate case should be able to be heard without having to go to court, sue the city, put us all through that, spend their own money, etc.  What I'm saying is I think you could make a much more open government and create an opportunity for things to be worked out before they become a major battle," said Ron Luce, Executive Director of the Athens County Historical Society.
Luce says he didn't want to take the issue to court, because he wanted to avoid the financial burden for all involved.