The council voted 3-2 to rescind a resolution in support of the plan which would bring a 64-unit apartment complex for workforce housing at the south end of Old Canton Road.
Council members Andrenia Stoner and Frank Homiller, both Ball Ground natives, voted against the measure and stood in support of the plan to construct the apartments.
Mayor Rick Roberts said that actual approval for the project’s funding will go through the state Department of Community Affairs.
City Manager Eric Wilmarth said city officials will likely know of the development’s approval by the end of the year. The property is already zoned to allow for apartments.
At its June meeting, the council unanimously approved a resolution in support of the development, only to later discover that it made the decision based on inaccurate minimum income values.
On June 22, Roberts sent a letter to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs withdrawing his support. However, Roberts said his position is not binding with the state agency and the city council would have to vote to rescind the resolution.
“Based on the fact that the information on my initial decision was based turned out to be less than accurate, my support is withdrawn and my adamant objection is voiced,” Roberts wrote in the letter.
Four residents commented Thursday on the proposed construction, all opposing the multi-family housing facility. However, the two council members came out in support of construction despite the misinformation.
One Ball Ground resident, Nancy Brado said she was surprised to see “some indication of support” for the development. She said the proposed apartments were “totally unfair” to the working class poor, listing a lack of nearby entertainment, stores, recreation, public transportation and government services, among other likely needs.
“That’s what I have to say to those that are so in favor to bringing these working poor apartments… nobody’s going to stay in (their) unit 24/7,” Brado said.
Sidney Wicketts, a Ball Ground resident and former Marietta police officer, said if the apartments go in, the city’s crime rate “is definitely going to go up.”
Another resident and Cherokee County School District teacher, Kristen Dearing, said she teaches at a Title I school and is very familiar with lower income students, but was concerned with the development putting the community at risk.
“It really scares me when you look at some of the other complexes in Canton and some of the events that have happened over the past year,” Dearing said, referring to the highly publicized killing of 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera, a Canton Elementary student. “Not to say that is going to happen, but (the development) brings more danger to our kids.”
Roberts said it has been an “interesting” last several weeks dealing with the issue, but looked at the positives.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people I didn’t know,” Roberts said. “I want us to be the model. I want us to do everything the right way.”
Homiller said a lot of misinformation about the project had been spread in recent weeks, and that the complex is not Section 8 housing development. He said he also heard citizens refer to the type of people moving in the complex as “those people.”
“I grew up here and ‘those people’ were me,” Homiller said. “None of the people who lived here at the time, or very few of us, had anything… It’s ‘those people’ that are still here and it’s ‘those people’ who have been sitting on this council for quite a while.”
Homiller said in his youth, he could not afford housing in Ball Ground and had to live with his mother, despite having a job with the state.
Stoner shared a similar story about having nowhere to rent a home in Ball Ground after she and her husband were married, and that she wished there were a place within the city for young people to rent homes.
“I share the mayor’s concerns about tipping the balance of the economic development to the lower end,” Homiller said. “I would like to have a much broader range of housing opportunities than we have… I share your concerns of crime, I share your concerns of overcrowding, but we have considered those things. Every city that we have contacted that has one of these kinds of apartments… has nothing but good to say about it.”
Homiller said a similar development in the city of Woodstock had matching crime statistics to the rest of the population.
“Be that as it may, I know I’m tilting at windmills,” Homiller said.
Also during the meeting, the council:
n Approved 5-0 an alcoholic beverage license for Hometown Food Mart. Wilmarth said the owner is no longer operating in the facility, but the license is transferrable within 45 days if the owner begins operations in a new location within the city limits.
* Approved unanimously the appointment of Beth Hall to the Sequoyah Regional Library Board.
* Unanimously voted to table an intergovernmental agreement with Cherokee County for property tax billing that, if approved, will go into effect until next year.
* Approved unanimously the proposed Parks Master Plan.
* Approved unanimously two separate resolutions for community block grants, the first of which would fund a water line project on Old Canton Road costing a matching fee by the city of $21,250; the second to fund a curb and gutter project on Old Canton Road costing a matching fee by the city of $12,500.
* Went into executive session to discuss property acquisition.