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The Athens-Clarke Commission declared a moratorium last week on new construction in Buena Vista Heights while they work to sort out whether to declare the neighborhood a historic district or create other protections against out-of-scale development.

Pro-historic district residents said they support the moratorium, but Commissioner Kelly Girtz noted the divisions within the neighborhood. Some want a district, some don’t under any circumstances, and others favor a more narrowly tailored solution, he said.

At a work session Tuesday, county planners presented the commission with other options for protecting intown neighborhoods from inappropriate infill development, such as size and height limits on new homes. Check for an update.

“What we’re looking for here with this moratorium is simply some breathing room,” Girtz said.

The moratorium will last four months, expiring in early March. Home repairs and maintenance will be allowed during that period, but not demolitions, additions or new construction. It passed unanimously.

In an unusual move, eight commissioners banded together to force the moratorium onto the agenda because Mayor Nancy Denson refused to consider it. Denson said she dislikes moratoriums in general. This one was given to her just two days before the meeting, and she didn’t have time to look at it, she said.

“It’s a pretty simple document, and it’s similar to what’s happened before,” Girtz responded. “If you follow development in Athens, you know a moratorium is a fairly common, straightforward procedure.”