The Glynn County Commission ignored the advice of the Mainland Planning Commission and pleas of residents and rezoned a 10-acre tract off Belle Cutoff Road.

The Glynn County Commission rejected the planning commission’s recommendation at its Thursday meeting and approved the rezoning request despite opposition by residents living nearby.

Residents expressed concerns of the impact a 72-unit multifamily development would have on traffic, parking, schools and crime.

Commissioners didn’t see it that way. Commissioner David O’Quinn made the motion to reject the planning commission’s recommendation and approve the request to rezone the tract from forest agricultural to medium residential.

Commissioner Cap Fendig seconded the motion, adding that affordable housing is a priority. He said the developer’s past work also ought to be considered.

The vote to approve the rezoning request passed 5-2, with Commissioners Sam Tostensen and Walter Rafolski casting the dissenting votes.

A vote to amend the land-use map to reflect the rezoning was approved unanimously.

The developer, Mitchell Davenport, said he struggled to understand the opposition to the affordable housing development. He said he has built an estimated 2,000 similar units.

Davenport compared the planned development with ones at Abbington Woods, Fox Creek Landing and on Norwich Street.

“I do this for a living,” he said. “I’m sensitive to these types of things. We need affordable housing for people in this community.”

Davenport said an access road off U.S. 17 to the development will be built and a traffic study conducted at the developer’s expense.

On a separate matter, county commissioners upheld the Islands Planning Commission’s recommendation to reject a request to rezone a tract from family residential and conservation preservation to planned development.

The applicant, Erica Gillman, told commissioners she believed the Islands Planning Commission rejected her request because they didn’t have all the facts.

She said her plan is to convert the ground floor of a home at 1447 Ocean Blvd. into an art studio where classes will be held. The upper floors would be living space.

Gillman said most of her clients are families and that the traffic impact would be minimal.

“We truly believe this is the best place to go,” she said.

Island resident Julian Smith expressed opposition to the request, saying the character of nearby neighborhoods could be negatively impacted.

Fendig said he is very familiar with the property and made the motion to uphold the planning commission’s recommendation.

“I can’t approve this,” Fendig said. “That’s a single-family residence.”

Not everyone agreed. Commission Allen Booker said he supported Gillman’s plans and didn’t believe an art studio would add to the traffic in the area.

Commissioners voted 4-3 in favor of Fendig’s motion, with Commissioners Booker, Tostensen and Rafolski casting the opposing votes.

In other business, commissioners agreed to send a resolution to the state asking for removal of contamination from sites along the U.S. 17 corridor as part of the Hercules/Pinova cleanup.

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