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Height map amendment postponed for River Street development

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 7:40 PM | Anonymous

VIA the Savannah Morning News

Hotelier Richard Kessler’s request for a height map amendment for a proposed multi-million dollar West River Street development hit a speed bump Tuesday after the city’s planning commission tabled a decision on the request until April.

The Metropolitan Planning Commission voted Tuesday to postpone a decision on the text amendment to the city’s height map, which would’ve extended an adjacent height zone and allow Kessler to build four structures as part of a $200 million hotel project on the site of the old Georgia Power plant.

The MPC heard more than an hour of debate, sometimes acrimonious, over the text amendment. The issue brought to the podium several local architects, nearby building owners, preservationists and at least two members of the Historic District Board of Review to speak out against the proposed change.

“The riverfront has been a very fundamental part of what it means to be a National Landmark District, and these areas have always been limited to relatively low buildings,” said Patrick Shay, a local architect in opposition to the change.

In rebuttal, Kessler said his investment will revitalize the long-dormant site and that the height of his structures would not exceed that of the original plant.

“The general support has been extremely strong for this. ...We’re not blocking anybody’s view,” said Kessler.

Kessler had requested a 6-story height change for the power plant and buildings west of it and a 4-story height change for structures east of the plant. The MPC staff submitted an alternative recommendation for a maximum of 5 stories and 3 stories, respectively.

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