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The Boston Globe

Business

Georgia city debates double-decker buses

SAVANNAH, Ga. — A proposal to put double-decker tour buses on the streets of Savannah’s historic district has residents rallying to bring the plans to a screeching halt, with critics fearing the buses would hit ancient oak limbs and give sightseers a peeping Tom’s view into homes.

Two Boston businessmen are lobbying Savannah City Hall to end a 17-year prohibition on double-decker buses in the coastal city’s historic district, which draws 12 million visitors a year. Savannah’s Downtown Neighborhood Association is urging officials to deny the request.

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‘‘What this company is asking us to do is to change our rules so we can be more like everywhere else, when what draws people to Savannah is that we’re not like anywhere else,’’ said Bob McAlister, who lives in the heart of downtown. ‘‘The double-decker buses threaten Savannah’s special ambience, its livability.’’

Steve Caplan and Tom O’Connor, the Boston investors, argue they shouldn’t be kept out of the city’s lucrative tourism market — worth $2 billion in 2011 — because of a blanket ban.

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