Note: This story appears in the Sunday, June 9 newspaper on Page A1.

A planned unit development consisting of six townhouse apartments is being proposed for Della Drive in Athens.

On Thursday, the Athens Planning Commission held a public hearing on the project. The developer is Mark Weidner of Athens, who said the project is still in the planning stages.

It was proposed to the city as one building with six units, but Weidner said he would prefer two buildings, each with three units, if that is allowable.

He said an engineering firm is looking at the hillside behind the property to see what is the minimum that can be done to the hill to “dress it up.” He said there is currently a homemade retaining wall, and the recommendation might be to just bring that wall up to standard.

There is a water drainage issue on the site, and Weidner said the engineers are also looking at how to deal with the water.

“Until I get that (engineering), I really don’t know the shape of the townhouses,” Weidner said.

Only a couple audience members attended the hearing, and adjoining property owner Mark Spezza was the only one to speak.

“I have no objections whatsoever from what I’ve seen so far,” Spezza said. “My only concern was water mitigation.”

Spezza said that about 150 feet up the hillside is an abandoned developed spring. He said that based on what he’s seen of Weidner’s plans, it appears there is going to be a catch basin to deal with the runoff.

Weidner will have to present more detailed plans to the commission before it can vote on whether to approve the project. If endorsed by the commission, the planned unit development would still need Athens City Council approval.

“I do believe this is the type of housing that we need more of in the city. There are not enough residences like this at this distance from the center of the city,” said Athens Service-Safety Director Andy Stone, a member of the commission. “In concept, I am supportive of projects like this.”

Della Drive, located off East State Street, is the road where the State Highway Patrol’s Athens Post is located.

srobb@athensmessenger.com; Twitter @SteveRmessenger

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