As a longtime resident of Prince Avenue and Cobbham, I agree with Mollie Parry King (Letters, Dec. 30) that 1140 Prince Ave. is an ideal site for a medical office. No one I know has said otherwise. The problem is the proposed size - 75,000 square feet - of the building.
This county has enacted zoning lows that permit us to develop our community as we see fit. Restrictions are there for good reasons, and one of them is to maintain scale. The streetscape in the Normaltown area should remain in the two-story range to retain its classic in-town village style.
To seek a variance for a small increase might be considered, but a 75,000-square-foot building would simply make a mockery of our zoning laws. Why have such ordinances if you're going to make outlandish exceptions? I don't want to see zoning laws abandoned piecemeal.
A huge building on that site does affect the surrounding neighborhoods more than anyone else, so we do have a vested interest in its size. It means more traffic, more noise, more everything. This development won't daily affect residents of Cedar Creek or Jennings Mill, but it sure will have an impact on those of us who pass through the intersection of King and Prince avenues frequently.
Those of us in Cobbham appreciate the leadership of District 5 Athens-Clarke Commissioner David Lynn on this issue. We favor the development of a modest building at 1140 Prince, which will serve the interests of most Athenians, not just those of an eager developer. We also support the long-range vision of Community Approach to Planning Prince Avenue in establishing guidelines on how to improve Prince Avenue over time. We only need one Atlanta Highway in this town.
John W. English
Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Tuesday, January 4, 2005