ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A sister development to a popular luxury apartment complex in Albany is one step closer to construction.
County commissioners voted Monday to change the zoning on the land across the waterway from Albany's Marsh Landing Apartments from a flood hazard district to allow for a new 36-unit building, even though county planners opposed the project.
FEMA still has to approve the construction plans and make sure they conform with the rules of building in a flood zone.
Most county commissioners were impressed enough with what the Marsh Landing engineer had to say about the proposed plan to vote in favor of the new apartment complex, even though county staff opposed it.
But even opponents say they are not concerned about the quality of the construction, just the impact it might have on the waterway.
"Ideally property in the flood plain, and flood way, should be natural," said Director of Planning Paul Forgey. "It is the best and safest use for the community."
One neighbor expressed his concerns to the county commission today, worried the new development will change how high waters flow over the banks.
Commissioner John Hays, the only dissenting vote, shared the same concern.
"[It is] to not put people in harms way when we know the potential exists."
But, with stringent FEMA building guidelines in place, the complex will have to meet the strictest building standards.
"Not only does it have to be engineered to withstand a flood, but it has to be approved by a FEMA engineer, to make sure the calculations are true, so two sets of engineers at least will be looking at them," said Forgey.
"I think it has been established that the contractor and design engineer will mitigate all the concerns expressed over the last two meetings we have had," said District 4 Commissioner Ewell Lyle.
There was no word on when construction could possibly begin, but Commissioner Lyle said the developers appear ready to move forward quickly.