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Residential Real Estate

Oct. 28 – New Student Housing project on Louisville Rd. gets go-ahead with Rezoning Approval

Category: Residential Real Estate

By Lou Phelps, Savannah Business Journal

October 28, 2016 - JSR Properties, LLC, represented by Atty. Phillip R. McCorkle of Savannah, won the day in rezoning 703 Louisville Rd from 1-H (Heavy Industrial) zoning classification to a P-RIP-D (Planned Medium Density Residential). The company is owned by long-time commercial realtor Jack Reese. 

The rezoning will allow the removal of the 100-year old railroad warehouse on Louisville Rd., next to the Ogeechee Canal, to develop student housing for SCAD by a private company.

Patrick Shay of Gunn Meyerhoff Shay, Savannah, is the architect for the project that will include four-bedroom suites.

Alderman Van Johnson, who represents District 1, asked a number of questions, concerned particularly about parking and traffic. 

Bernetta Lanier asked the Council to defer the rezoning decision until the ‘Canal District’ plan is further along now that new City Manager Rob Hernandez is onboard.  Lanier has served for many years on one of the stakeholder committees formed to look at the new sports complex, which is part of the overall ‘Canal District’ concept.  She also cautioned against gentrification of West Savannah neighborhoods, pointing out that this was one of the first significant rezoning being approved in this area.

Johnson was told by McCorkle that more than adequate parking is being provided on site, responding to Johnson’s concerns about students parking on Louisville Rd, a primary access to the city off of I-16. 

Alderman Johnson was also concerned that if the units were not successfully rented to students that the layout "sounded like a rooming house."  But, in the end, the vote was unanimous. 

After the meeting two Alderman said that they supported the rezoning because the property owner was limited to what he could do with the property because it is a flood zone. The housing will be raised up to address the flood plain. 

A site plan was attached to the rezoning of the lot; the provision requires a general development plan/site plan to be submitted and reviewed with the zoning petition.

The RIP-D district allows up to 100 dwelling units per gross acre, the most residentially dense zoning district in the city.

This district also allows for a minimum of one off-street parking space per dwelling unit.

The development standards for the RIP-D district, such as height and setbacks, are provided by the Historic District Overlay District; however, outside of the Historic District there are no development standards unless determined at the time of rezoning. The property is outside the district, even though it is one block from the railroad historic site and the Revolutionary War Battlefield Park that the city has now preserved.

MPC staff had recommended a continuance to obtain more information from the petitioner regarding the number of bedrooms to determine if the number of proposed off-street parking spaces are adequate.

But, the Planning Commission recommended approval without any conditions associated with the general development plan.

The more than four acre site with the historic railroad warehouse, built in 1929, is currently taxed at a $1.2 million valuation. 

The matter had been continued from the Oct. 13 Council meeting, immediately following Hurricane Matthew. 

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