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City council votes to increase proposed density of new subdivision on Cawana Road
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    Going against the wishes of the mayor, city manager and several residents of the Bradford Place subdivision, the Statesboro City Council voted to allow a developer to increase the proposed density of a new subdivision on Cawana Road.
    In a 3-2 vote, the council approved a request from Scott Joyner to increase the maximum number of units from 45 to 63, provided they meet other criteria set forth by the council, including house size, allowing the use of vinyl siding and requiring a two-car garage.
    Joyner was previously before the council earlier this year to get the property annexed into the city and then zoned to allow his proposed subdivision. This came at about the same time as another request for annexation of property adjoining the Bradford Place subdivision and the council put restrictions on the size of homes and the materials they were built with so as not to detract from existing homes in the area.
    Joyner said he could build a better neighborhood if he could build smaller homes and use a variety of materials to build them rather than brick.
    Bradford place residents, meanwhile, were frustrated at having to return to address the council less than six months after speaking to them on the same issue, with one of them calling the request the "Scott Joyner dog and pony show."
    Also, the council has been working for years to get more "high end" housing inside the city limits and recently agreed to a $3 million loan to install water and sewer lines in the southeast quadrant of the city in an effort to encourage residential developers to build larger homes in that area.
    "We can't take a chance in messing up this entire area," said City Manager George Wood prior to the council voting. "If we do this, we might as well cancel the $3 million loan because we've shot ourselves in the foot."
    Hatcher said the push for higher-end housing wasn't an issue of an increased tax base, but instead was an issue of having the human resources to draw from for candidates to run for office or sit on various city boards.
    Initially a motion to deny the request was made by Joe Brannen and seconded by Tommy Blitch, but that motion defeated by a 3-2 vote. After that, Will Britt made a motion to approve the request.
    In a rare move prior to voting, Statesboro Mayor Bill Hatcher urged the council to vote down Britt's motion, saying it would be "a sad day in Statesboro if we pass this motion." Hatcher rarely, if ever, makes a plea to council members as to how he thinks they should vote on an issue.
    After the meeting, Hatcher said he thought it was a "critical" vote and that's why he urged the council to vote as he saw it.
    "This is a key area of development and I think we made a huge mistake," he said.
    In a memo to the council, Wood said granting the request would "be a terrible precedent and destroy this area for higher-end residential development" if approved.
    Gary Lewis, who voted to impose the stricter density limits earlier this year before changing his mind Tuesday, said he did so because he "had a better view of things that I didn't have the first time."
    He had several people call him and tell him they didn't mind the higher density across from Bradford Place, he said.
    Other action taken by the council Tuesday included:
    - approving, on first reading, an ordinance that would prohibit parking between the house and front property line unless on a paved surface, but allow parking anywhere along the side or rear of the house, provided it wad done in an orderly fashion;
    - approving a rezoning request from R-15 to Office for a lot at 219 Savannah Ave.;
    - approving a request for a special exception to allow a beauty salon in an area zoned office at 304 South Zetterower Ave.;
    - approving a resolution renaming Deloach Street to Stonehaven Drive;
    - approving a motion to authorize the mayor and city clerk to execute a standard water and sewer use agreement with Statesboro Mall, LLC for Starbucks Coffee,
    - authorizing the mayor, city clerk and city engineer to execute the necessary documents to request a right-turn in, right-turn out only interchange connecting Cawana Road to Veterans Memorial Parkway.
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