|By RICK LAVENDER - The Times
Industrialized homes builder Grant Smereczynsky either suffered
another setback or strengthened his case to finish one of
the factory-made homes in Waters Edge subdivision Tuesday
Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board voted 4-2, enough
of a majority to seal a recommendation to City Council, to
deny Smereczynsky's request to rezone the Waters Edge Drive
lot from residential-1 to residential-2.
The co-owner of Building Systems Network in Gaines-ville
said later he thought he had a chance, despite staff calling
his application spot zoning and about 40 neighbors turning
out in opposition.
But Smereczynsky attorney George Butler suggested that the
denial and the likelihood of the same before City Council
on May 2 bolsters their side.
"Certainly, it moves the ball forward," Butler
said. "We have to give the city the opportunity to do
the right thing."
Neighbors think the city has since revoking permits for the
home in midconstruction last March. Permits for a similar
home in the Lake Lanier subdivision off McEver Road also were
Gainesville has repeatedly won in court. A suit filed by
Smereczynsky is before the state Court of Appeals.
City code restricts industrialized homes, which are built
in factories and assembled on site, to multifamily (residential-2),
agricultural-residential and residential-office districts.
Smereczynsky's argu- ment, backed by the state Department
of Community Affairs, is that stance violates state law.
During the meeting at the Georgia Mountains Center, Linda
Youngblood of Waters Edge asked if zoning the lot for multifamily
sets a precedent.
"It would open a door," said Danny Dunagan, board
Afterward, Youngblood questioned the quality of industrialized
homes and the possibility that one nearby will shrink her
"We appreciate the board supporting the people who already
have homes in the subdivision," she said.
Butler had pitched the request as simply allowing completion
of the home.
Yet, board member Chris Jones motioned to deny, saying later
that approving a residential-2 lot in a residential-1 subdivision
with many tracts undeveloped will "give people ammunition
when they come in front of us" with similar requests.
Smereczynsky has said the built-for-sale home appraises at
A mortgage dealer spoke in his favor Tuesday.
David Jones of the Waters Edge homeowners association said
the neighborhood agreed with the planning staff.
He also said Butler's assertion that his client is willing
to meet with homeowners was a first, and that a letter Smereczynsky's
wife sent some neighbors was inflammatory.
The letter criticized opponents, said they had damaged her
family and children, and hoped God held them responsible.
Smereczynsky said his wife had tried to work with some neighbors.
"We didn't have a very warm reception to even talk."
He had said in February he had no doubt the zoning request
will be turned down, honing issues he faces in pending citations
concerning the home.
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