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Sembler faces tough vote for Moreland project 

Eddie Sumlin has two good reasons to oppose the Sembler Co.'s redevelopment of the Atlanta Gas Light property on Moreland Avenue just south of Little Five Points.

Reason one: Some of his neighbors have known for seven months that Columbia Pointe, the 52-unit apartment complex where Sumlin has lived for three years, would be razed to make way for Sembler's project. Sumlin didn't find out until he attended the Organized Neighbors of Edgewood meeting Feb. 24.

Reason two: Sumlin retired in 1998 after working at Kroger for 30 years and now lives on a fixed income. He pays $435 a month for rent; finding an apartment intown that inexpensive will be very difficult, and his lease runs out in April.

"Right now we don't have any options," Sumlin says. Instead of finding another place to live, Sumlin and other Columbia Pointers are staging a squatting protest.

They're staying put.

"See, that's what [the landlord, Noel Khalil] wants you to do. He wants you to jump up and move outta here," Sumlin says. "I'm going to stay here until the bitter end."

Sumlin and other Columbia Pointe residents will be just one faction of many who'll try to convince the city's Zoning Review Board to reject Sembler's rezoning application.

Other nearby neighborhoods, like Inman Park, the Poncey-Highlands, Little Five Points, and a splinter group within Edgewood, will pack the meeting and speak out against the project.

The board will hear recommendations from the city's planning department March 13 at 6 p.m. The board may vote to approve or reject the application or postpone the vote to consider the planning staff's suggestions. Click on atlanta.creativeloafing.com for updates on the Zoning Review Board meeting.

After the zoning board, the Atlanta City Council will be Sembler's next hurdle, followed by Mayor Shirley Franklin.

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