The Union Recorder

Local News

December 12, 2012

Special use for sorority house granted by city

MILLEDGEVILLE — Milledgeville City Council upheld the Nov. 5 approved request by the Planning and Zoning Commission to grant a special use ordinance for the property located at 131 N. Columbia St. as a sorority house with eight residents.

Phillip Joiner, Steve Chambers, Richard Mullins and Denese Shinholster voted in favor of the request Tuesday, while Jeanette Walden and Dr. Collinda Lee were against the special use.

“These young ladies have shown they will be good neighbors,” Joiner said.

The District 4 councilman, along with Chambers, agreed each special use needs to be looked at case by case.

Michael Walker and his wife Mary submitted the request, so Georgia College's Phi Mu sorority could use the property to house its executive board members.

Both sides of the argument spoke during Tuesday's public hearing period at City Council.

The Walker couple took six years restoring the home to vintage antebellum condition and believes Phi Mu will preserve the home in line with numerous other university homes throughout the state.

Realtor Robert Binion said the sorority takes its homes seriously with established rules all residents must follow.

“I implore you to embrace this opportunity. We want students to stay and start businesses here,” Georgia College Phi Mu Chapter Advisor Ginny Binion said.

Phi Mu executive Darlene Reyes said the sorority would like to be granted the exception like the two other female Greek groups on campus. She cited the extraordinary community service record of the group.

Opposition during the hearing came down hardest from Historic Preservation Committee member John Alton and downtown homeowner Ray Olivier.

Alton had no contention with the Walker's home restoration or the merits of the sorority.

“The questions that are important are what are we doing with this town. There are students living on the 100 block of North Columbia Street,” Alton said. “There has to be a point where we can allow them in certain areas. We have to preserve single-family neighborhoods.”

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