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Winder to annex, rezone land for shopping center on Athens Street

WINDER - City officials voted Tuesday to approve the annexation and rezoning of 23.7 acres of land at 305 Athens St.

The owner of the property intends to develop a shopping center on the site. Originally zoned for agricultural use, the new zoning designation is for business use. The existing structure on the property will be removed.

Jim Neu of the Winder Planning Board said Tuesday that this area will be considered a gateway to the city and as such should be architecturally appealing. "We don't want to wind up with a Buford Highway kind of thing," he said.

Sonic restaurant denied sign ordinance variation

The Sonic in Winder petitioned the City Council for a variance with respect to the city's sign ordinance. The proposed sign requiring the variance would be an electronic message board that changes every five seconds.

Councilmen Frank Dunagan and Ridley Parrish recommended denial of the request, since the location is at a busy intersection. The flashing sign would be a distraction to drivers.

City administrator Bob Beck agreed with the councilmen. "The city went to great length and effort to bring our sign ordinance to where it is now. We'd be setting a bad precedent to make an exception to the ordinance."

Second city budget public hearing scheduled

The next public hearing regarding the 2009-10 city budget is scheduled for

5 p.m. June 18 in the Winder Community Center. The first hearing was May 26. City council members will vote on whether to approve the budget immediately following the June 18 hearing at the regularly scheduled 6 p.m. council meeting.