Hogansville denies rezoning of Askew Ave. property

Published 7:19 pm Wednesday, March 6, 2019

HOGANSVILLE – The Hogansville City Council unanimously voted to deny the rezoning of 301 Askew Avenue from a Residential (R2) property to a commercial/residential property, citing that such a rezoning was not in line with the city’s land use plan.

The city council did so despite a unanimous recommendation from the planning and zoning board to approve the request.

The property, owned by Sherman Yarbrough, currently sits vacant. Per the rezoning application for the property, Aziza Somani was listed the authorized agent and potential buyer for the property. Somani spoke in favor of the rezoning during a public hearing immediately preceding the council meeting on Monday night. 

“The rezone is good for the community,” Somani said. “We want to have a gas station and convenience store for people to have a convenient place to buy, so people do not have to walk across the street to buy. It is convenient for the community and will generate revenue for the city of Hogansville.”

The property was at one time a laundromat, thus held the desired Commercial zoning status at that time. However, the city’s 2010 land use plan called for the re-zoning of Askew Avenue to a residential-zoned street. The property was grandfathered in as a commercial building, but sat vacant for more than one year, thus reverted to a residential property.

“When your land use plan went into effect, everything over there was rezoned,” Hogansville City Manager David Milliron said Monday night. “When the Commercial building was not used for a set amount of time, it reverted back to the desired zoning that was adopted. It was commercial. Currently, it is not commercial.”

City Councilman Fred Higgins asked whether or not the store planned to sell alcohol, and Somani said yes. Mayor Bill Stankiewicz made clear that an alcohol permit would need to be requested via a separate application and process from the rezoning.

During the city council meeting, members of the city council and the mayor spoke in favor of more commercial businesses but not in residential-zoned areas.

“I would love to see us do more on Highway 29 or Main Street,” City Councilwoman Theresa Strickland said. “I think that would be more advantageous for the city overall. We’re talking about having a convenience store down in that residential area. I’m assuming high-traffic. That’s my concern.”

“The council knows that my desire is that we follow our land use plan,” Stankiewicz said. “We have that for a reason, we file it with the state as part of our comprehensive plan. There are penalties if you don’t follow your land use plan. My recommendation is always that we follow our land use plan.”

After more discussion from the city council and city staff, the council unanimously voted to deny the request, leaving the property zoned as a residential structure.