Councilwoman Robinson Chides Grohn Over Benson/Defoor Comments

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

City Councilwoman Sally Robinson on Tuesday night chided District 4 City Council candidate Larry Grohn for his comments during a zoning case about incumbent Jack Benson and developer Ken Defoor.

Ms. Robinson said, "I find your statement inappropriate in this forum - the way you are calling into question one of East Brainerd's most respected developers and a councilman who has served that district for 12 years." . 

Mr. Grohn did not mention during his comments that he was running for the post.

Ms. Robinson asked him if he was.

Mr. Grohn told the council that Mr. Defoor has been the main contributor to Councilman Benson's campaigns. He asked that Mr. Benson not vote on the zoning issue and that he disclose all contributions "from the Defoor brothers and their family members."

Councilman Benson said, "A lot of good people have contributed to my campaigns, and I'm grateful for it."

Mr. Defoor said, "Under the Constitution, I have the right to support anyone I deem is qualified."

The council voted unanimously to support a zoning change to the Waterside development that is along I-75, Shallowford Road and Gunbarrel Road.

Mr. Defoor said the change adds more commercial zoning along the interstate.

He said there is still a plan to put residential along Gunbarrel Road, though exact plans are not worked out.

The developer said, "This project was supposed to take 7-8 years. It looks like it will be 5-8 years more. I will be 75 years old when it is finished, but I intend to finish it."

Tom Lawson raised the issue of flooding along Preston Circle, saying it has worsened since Waterside was started. He said his home has been flooded twice and he recently had water up to the patio.

Mr. Defoor said he was "very sorry" about the flooding, but he said, "My development has not contributed to the flooding, and I can prove that."

He said the new commercial zoning will drain toward the freeway.

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