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Controversial zoning bid dropped
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A controversial proposed zoning change to be heard before the Bryan County Board of Commissioners was pulled from consideration at Tuesday’s meeting at the last minute.

County officials confirmed Monday afternoon that the rezoning petition of Michael Stefanick – that would have allowed for townhomes to be built on 5.59 acres adjacent to Highway 144 just outside Richmond Hill – was pulled from the agenda of Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Commissioners.

"(Mr. Stefanick’s) attorney called and asked that it be removed from the agenda," said Bryan County Administrator Phil Jones. He said the rezoning request would have rezoned the land from R-1 single-family residential to R-3 multi-family residential use. The proposal has been met with much opposition.

"People in the area didn’t like what would have been R-3 in between two R-1 residential areas," Jones said. "The ruckus simply has been that it is incompatible use (for the land)."

Stefanick said he had no knowledge of the item’s removal but said he didn’t care to comment further.

Richmond Hill resident Dan Collins, who with a small group of other concerned residents started a petition against the rezoning of the land, said he and others were opposed to Stefanick’s proposed development because it wasn’t compatible with the character of the surrounding neighborhoods.

"The right to own property and to do with it what you please stops when it inflicts on the rights of others," Collins said. "We’re not against change and we’re not against people making money, we just want things to fit in to the surrounding neighborhoods that already exist."

On Monday afternoon Collins said he had nearly 1,300 signatures on a petition against the project. He said 45 were from those living within 300 feet of the proposed development, and the rest came from other Bryan County residents opposed to the proposal. Volunteers going door to door gathered most of the signatures. Others came from residents who signed the petition at the old Miner's Service Station on the corners of Hwys. 17 and 144.

"We are very firm in our neighborhood," Collins said. "If Mr. Stefanick wanted to build single-family homes that would add some value to the area we wouldn’t be opposed. From the beginning we felt this way.

"If this would have been approved then who’s to say that in any give neighborhood that someone couldn’t go in, buy up three or four homes, and build condos?"

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