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The City Council has voted 3-2 to approve a controversial 1.5-acre property rezone that could lead to the construction of four fourplex units at 1245 E. Gentile Street.

The rezone proposal, from single to multifamily residential, originally came to the council last December. However, it was remanded to the planning commission after some traffic and safety concerns were voiced by residents.A study of the traffic in the area showed that 16 more units of housing in the area would likely result in only a two percent increase in traffic on Gentile Street. Because the study was based on 1991 traffic counts, some residents at the Aug. 18 public hearing were skeptical.

Carl Hurst, a nearby resident, didn't like old statistics being used, and he said traffic on Gentile Street is simply increasing too fast.

"We're still adamantly against this rezone," Joleen Peterson, another resident, said. "There is still a safety hazard."

Most of the City Council agreed with the planning commission, which also voted 3-2 to approve the rezone, that new sidewalks, curb and gutter in the area would actually enhance safety there.

Councilman Stuart Adams said this was a land-use issue and the rezone is appropriate for the area. He said the rezone will create a buffer around the businesses in the area for the nearby subdivision. He believes fourplexes will be better for the nearby residents than a business and that no one's likely to build homes there because they would have to front on busy Gentile Street.

Brent Allen, another council member, agreed.

"I don't see that it's a major impact to the homeowners," he said.

Councilwoman Lyndia Graham disagreed and voted against the proposal because she felt there are better uses than apartments for the land.