Athens City Council Rejects Blue Gator Balcony

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Contractors are considering redesigning a proposed balcony above the former Blue Gator restaurant.

Athens City Council members voted Monday against a request made by Gator Guys, LLC, who are looking to build a four-foot open-air balcony on the second floor of the 63 N. Court Street location. 

Council voted against the proposal, saying it violated a city code that states balconies cannot extend past three feet.

Residents of the apartment complex currently under construction above the old Blue Gator establishment would have access to the proposed balcony.

John Paszke, director of Athens City Code Enforcement, says he is not for or against the balcony, and instead referenced City Code, Chapter 23, regarding general regulations and permitted modifications.

The code, that relates to yard regulations, states "any bay windows, balconies, fireplaces, uncovered stairways, uncovered landings and chimneys may project a distance not exceeding three feet, provided that such features do not occupy, in the aggregate, more than one-third of the length of the building wall on which they are located."

The Blue Gator location, however, does not have a yard and there are already several balconies on and nearby Court Street.

But, according to Paszke and City Council President Jim Sands, these balconies meet code requirements.  

Sands said he encourages the renovators to return to the next Council meeting, and says a request for a three-foot balcony "would be suitable".

Bart Kasler, contractor and Gator Guys, LLC partner, gave few comments, but said his team is investigating the issue and is considering proposing a design for a smaller balcony on April 8.