The Metropolitan Planning Commission recently recommended the approval of amendments to the City’s Historic District Ordinance which would significantly alter the bonus story criteria in the Historic District. The proposal would not allow a restaurant to be considered an active use for bonus story calculation.
It is our belief that one of the most logical and publicly beneficial uses of a ground floor is that of a restaurant operation. The proposal would also require that a separate active use be incorporated for every 60 feet of street frontage and 50 percent of the space shall be designed so the primary entrance is only accessible from the exterior. This will be adverse for many retail and office uses.
Additionally, the proposal calls for limitations on the green roof and affordable housing options for the bonus story.
There will be a public meeting to discuss these proposals Thursday, January 11 at 2 p.m. in the Savannah Civic Center’s Mason Room. The Chamber encourages all affected parties to attend this meeting and voice your thoughts and concerns.
The city is also considering a proposal to prohibit delivery trucks greater than 34 feet in length, including but not limited to all tractor-trailer rigs and all vehicles with more than three axles, on any public right-of-way within the area bounded by and including River Street on the north, East Broad Street on the east, Gaston Street on the south and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard on the west. The following segments of roadways shall be excepted from application of this section:
- MLK, Jr. Boulevard between Bay and Gaston Streets;
- Bay Street between MLK, Jr. Boulevard and East Broad Street;
- Montgomery Street between the end of I-16 and Oglethorpe Avenue;
- Liberty Street between MLK, Jr. Boulevard and the Civic Center’s southern entrance (facing Tattnall Street);
- Oglethorpe Avenue between MLK, Jr. Boulevard and Montgomery Street
Owners or operators whose vehicles are subject to the prohibition may apply for a temporary permit for moving, film production, or delivery of goods. No one will be allowed to receive more than 24 permits during a calendar year. If this proposal is adopted, anyone found in violation will be subject to a $500 fine. It is the Chamber’s belief that this would place a burden on restaurants, businesses, and the hospitality industry located in the proposed area.
We encourage you to contact your City of Savannah leadership and let them know proposals like these are an insult to the historic cooperation between the City of Savannah, the local business community and residents of the historic district. When decisions of this magnitude are on the table, the Chamber, as we have in the past, believes that everyone’s best interest is served when all affected parties are invited to participate in the discussions to ensure the outcome has a positive impact on all involved. We encourage members to attend the meeting on January 11 and let our elected officials know that the business community is opposed to lop-sided, special interest-driven proposals and we are willing to work with everyone to guaranty a healthy, vibrant Savannah for all citizens.