Planning Commission OKs Stimson Avenue Plans

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Members of the Athens City Planning Commission voted to conditionally approve re-submitted plans for a Stimson Avenue housing complex during their Wednesday afternoon session.

The commission voted three to one on the site currently occupied by specialty wine store, Bella Vino.
Businessman Ric Wasserman purchased the historical property in February with the intent to tear down the old building and construct apartments on the site.
The Board of Zoning Appeals previously ruled that the complex's first floor parking could not be considered a business and therefore did not comply with the B-3 commercial zoning. 
The project received a re-design, adding a commercial space to the first floor and reducing the number of parking spaces in order to meet city zoning for the area.
Athens County Historical Executive Director Ron Luce spoke out against the project, saying he still took issue with the first floor parking for residents.
"I am opposed to this project because I don't believe it fits with our code," said Luce.  He went on to say if the issue was not addressed, the project would be a waste of time for all involved.  
Luce previously tried to save the historical building, asking City Law Director Pat Lang to intervene, but Lang refused. 
Commission members reviewed external elevation drawings.  Paula Horan Moseley commented the proposed building seemed to be tall and close to the street.  The drawings show it standing close to 43 feet tall, or three stories high.
"It's probably what we should expect to see on Stimson Avenue in scale and in scope as the buildings in that area are losing their useful life," said Paul Logue, city planner.
The approval of the plans was conditional on a proper curb cut, acceptable configuration of access to parking spots on Montrose Avenue and that the 800-square foot commercial space remain for commercial use.  The building must comply with city water and sewer, engineering and public works recommendations.
Wasserman was not present at the meeting.