“We urgently need housing,” Garden City pauses industrial rezoning applications for six months

GARDEN CITY, Ga. (WTOC) — The hometown of the Georgia Ports Authority is pausing all industrial rezoning applications.

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

This is mainly due to the proximity to the Georgia ports. You get a lot of industrial uses, leaving little room to build more homes.

The city withdrew a couple of motions developers were scheduled to submit to City Council Monday night, and some people support the decision.

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

Garden City officials are working on that by pausing applications for industrial rezoning.

“You don’t have a city if you don’t have residents,” said Scott Robider, Garden City’s city manager. “We need roofs and real citizens here and not just companies.”

Garden City’s City Manager said they are seeing far too many industrial and commercial inquiries that have no interest in residential real estate.

Robider said, “Sometimes multiple requests a day.”

The mayor said what he understands is how the development could potentially affect older, more established neighborhoods.

“The warehouse would have been less than 50 yards from the backyard, and I told Scott we had to do something,” Mayor Don Bethune said.

The Garden City Housing Team is grateful for this decision.

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

The city said the moratorium may not make everyone happy.

“It’s caused some discomfort for our developers and people who want to get development done here, but unless we hit pause now, I don’t know where we’re going from here,” said Robider.

The housing team have been waiting to get started 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, rehabilitate housing and in prayer hopefully in the future 2023-24 … we want to start construction.”

The Garden City Housing Team said this is timely as they look to find ways to use a $400,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for further redevelopment and renovation.

Garden City said any rezoning requests received before May 2 were unaffected.

The moratorium will consist of city guides taking a look at the comprehensive plan, making changes to the Industrial Property Ordinance and meeting with developers and builders.

During the hiatus, they will accept requests for industrial repurposing but will not act on them.

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