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City Council votes to deny relocating house
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    In a move that could potentially open the city to a lawsuit, the Statesboro City Council voted to deny permission for a house to be relocated to Elm Street.
    Charles and Alicia Collins had been seeking to relocate a house from Bulloch Street to Elm Street and renovate it into a four-bedroom apartment.
    The property is located in the city's Central Business District and therefore has no parking or setback requirements. However, the structure would encompass an overwhelming majority of the property and even with changes to the size of the home, parking would have been limited.
    The Collins worked with the city and submitted a total of four plans for approval that met the requirements of the Central Business District. In that zoning district, there are no setback requirements, meaning buildings can be constructed up to the property line, and there are also no parking requirements.
    Officials at both Brannen Chapel United Methodist Church and Elm Street Church of God were opposed to the building relocation, saying it went against the spirit of what the Central Business District was intended for.
    "19 Elm Street does not meet the criteria for being zoned Central Business District," said the Rev. Donald Logan of Elm Street Church of God.
    When asked for his legal opinion on the situation, City Attorney Sam Brannen told the council they had no legal basis for denying the Collins' application and if they did, it would open the city to a potential lawsuit.
    Councilman Gary Lewis made the motion to deny the request, saying he didn't think it was right to put a house on such a small lot.
    "I don't think it should go there," he said. "We're the city council and we can say what goes where," he said.
    During discussion of the motion, councilman Will Britt said he wanted to reflect the desire of the two churches present.
    "If the neighborhood doesn't want something in their neighborhood, we should listen to them," he said.
    Prior to voting, Brannen again cautioned the council that if they denied the request, the Collins would be in a "very powerful position to bring a lawsuit," against the city to require them to enforce their ordinance.
    Brannen said he didn't know if the Collins would bring the case to court, but if they did, he said the "likelihood is they would prevail."
    Other action taken by the council Tuesday included:
    - awarding a bid to Contract Interiors for $167,314.37 for furnishings at the new Statesboro Police Department;
    - appointing municipal election officials for this year's city elections;
    - approving a resolution declaring surplus property and authorizing its method of disposal;
    - approving a request from the Statesboro Arts Council to begin their endowment drive and to extend the repayment date of their current loan through the 2012 fiscal year;
    - approving a  motion to award a sole source bid for Sensus water meters and parts to Kendall Supply for $48,940;
    - approving the list of streets for submittal to the Georgia Department of Transportation in a request for resurfacing.
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