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CONYERS — The City Council gave its final approval to a controversial apartment rezoning Wednesday night, setting the stage for the development of a 265-unit gated complex at Ga. Highway 20 and Millers Chapel Road.

The second reading of the rezoning ordinance was approved 4-1, with council member Connie Alsobrook opposed. The first reading of the ordinance was approved at the council’s May 19 meeting by a vote of 3-2, with Alsobrook and council member Valyncia Smith opposed. On Wednesday night, Smith made the motion to approve.

Mayor Vince Evans told those present that the rezoning issue was not an easy decision for the council.

“This has probably been the toughest question in my 22 years, and I think we can clearly see both sides,” he said. “It’s not a tie; we’ve got to pick one way or the other, so it’s a tough choice. I think we’ve all tried to think it through.”

The rezonings and accompanying changes to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan encompass three separate tracts totaling 25.25 acres. The property will be developed by Lennar Atlanta of Roswell. The one- and two-bedroom apartments, which will be called Emblem Conyers, will be marketed to young professionals, older adults and retirees with rents ranging from $1,350 to $1,600 per month.

The Conyers-Rockdale Planning Commission had recommended denial of the rezoning requests at its May 13 meeting without comment. At a public hearing held before by the City Council on May 19, a number of residents of the area spoke out against the project, including residents of single-family home neighborhoods in the vicinity of the property — Martha’s Vineyard, Nob Hill/Downing Park, Irwin Place, Henson Village and Weatherstone. They presented a petition with 400 signatures of those against the complex.

Many of those in opposition were at Wednesday night’s meeting, apparently anticipating an opportunity to again express their opposition. However, since a public hearing was held at the May 19, no public comment was allowed prior to Wednesday night’s vote.

Opponents did speak at the end of the meeting during the public comment period, reiterating their concerns about increased traffic, stress on aging infrastructure, potential overcrowding of schools, and public safety demands.

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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