DAHLONEGA, Ga. – After a three-year standoff with Roberta Green-Garrett and her attorney, the Dahlonega City Council approved a consent order Tuesday that will allow her to build a hotel that will replace the old Butler and Parks Buildings in Dahlonega’s historic downtown.
The vote was 4-2 with District 1 Councilman Roman Gaddis and District 4 Councilman Bruce Hoffman opposed.
“People who were against the consent order assumed the council folded but we stopped it dead in its tracks for three years at a lot of time and expense,” Mayor Sam Norton said. “I don’t think either side is particularly satisfied with the agreement but we did the best we could do given the circumstances.”
But as councilwoman JoAnne Taylor stated in last month’s work session, ““We’ve either got to put our thumbprint on this design with Mrs. Green-Garrett, or roll the dice and see what the judge will say,” something most councilmembers were unwilling to risk.
During the public comment period, half a dozen citizens stood up and spoke out forcefully against the project. Ken Akins said, “This is our history, our heritage. This is what we’re all about and we are destroying that.”
The city and Green-Garrett’s attorney Joey Homans engaged in a lengthy mediation period and agreed to several conditions. For example, the premises can only be used as a hotel and must include an exercise facility, a lobby, a small outdoor pool, a breakfast lounge area and parking.
In other business, council unanimously approved a request to rezone 2.97 acres on Torrington Drive from B-1 (business) to R-3 (residential) to allow for the construction of apartment units.
Council denied Lynn Allred’s appeal of a Historic Preservation Commission decision that pertains to the construction of a fence at her Appalachian Gold business.
Council also agreed to move forward with plans to construct a kids play area at Hancock Park.
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