Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission: Warner Robins church denied permit for north Bibb

lmorris@macon.comDecember 13, 2011 

The Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission denied a permit Monday for a church to operate out of an existing building in north Bibb County.

The Warner Robins First Assembly of God had applied for a conditional-use permit to allow a church in a 4,464-square-foot building at 157 Gateway Drive off Riverside Drive near The Shoppes at River Crossing.

The church currently operates in a 50,000-square-foot facility on 30 acres a mile east of Exit 146 off Interstate 75, according to a statement from the church. The building on Gateway Drive would have been a satellite campus.

“We selected what we believe to be the most attractive portion of Macon,” said the Rev. Richard Azbell. “Our application fits into the ever evolving land-use change at the Riverside/Gateway area ... and that we would have minimal adverse impact on adjacent properties.”

However, Trip Wilhort with Fickling & Co., said he represents some property owners along Riverside Drive who are concerned that the church’s presence would restrict some “end users” from going on those sites. State and local law provides restrictions on the distance between businesses that sell alcohol and churches.

Rob Patterson, who owns 1.3 acres directly across Riverside Drive from The Shoppes at River Crossing, also expressed concern about the church’s location.

“I’m not here opposing religion,” he said. “What I’m here for is opposing zoning that will affect how I will be able to use my property.”

Commissioner Jacqueline Hightower said that The Shoppes at River Crossing was an important economic area.

“I would like to see more development in that area versus limiting what goes in that area,” Hightower said.

Jim Thomas, executive director of the zoning commission, said the future land use plan for that area is expected to be for commercial uses.

The application was denied in a 3-2 vote.

When a similar application for this site was sought in 2007, the item was deferred to obtain a legal opinion regarding the restriction of uses on adjacent properties that would involve alcohol, according to the staff report. At that time, The Shoppes at River Crossing and other developments in the area were under way. The application was withdrawn prior to the hearing, so the commission did not act.

Other items on the agenda were:

ITEMS DEFERRED FROM PRIOR MEETINGS:

1336 Gray Highway: Variance in aggregate sign area requirements, C-2 District. Sign-a-Rama, applicant. Withdrawn.

CONDITIONAL USES:

923 Washington Ave.: Conditional use to allow a professional office in an existing building, HR-3 District. Josh Rogers, Historic Macon Foundation, applicant. Approved.

484 Second St.: Conditional use to allow a place of assembly (banquet hall) in an existing building, CBD-1 District. Althea Banks, Clarence Banks, applicant. Approved.

201 Coliseum Drive: Conditional use to allow platting of property prior to site plan approval, PDE District. Zan Thompson, ZT3 Placemaker Studio Inc., applicant. Approved.

3461 Log Cabin Drive: Conditional use to allow used auto sales at an existing business, C-1 District. Shemicka Johnson, Expert Auto Brokers, applicant. Approved.

8229 Columbus Road: Conditional use to allow a proposed office/warehouse for a contractor’s office (heating and air), C-2 District. Mark McCranie, applicant. Approved.

3863 Bloomfield Drive: Conditional use to allow a Shriner’s Temple/lodge in an existing building with variance in side yard setback requirements, R-1A District. Rickey Blalock, Masab Temple #11, applicant. Approved.

1089 Eisenhower Parkway: Conditional use to allow auto sales and service C-2 District. Bill Robbins, Prestige Auto Group, applicant. Approved.

6728 Hawkinsville Road: Conditional use to allow a spa with retail sales in an existing building, M-1 District. Clarence Jones, applicant. Approved.

3761 Mercer University Drive: Conditional use to allow a nightclub within a shopping center, C-2 District. In Ok Kim, Sparks Wings Cafe, applicant. Approved.

4450 Forsyth Road: Conditional use to allow outside display, C-2 District. Robert Carson, Money Mizer Pawn & Jewelers, applicant. Withdrawn.

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS:

891 Cherry St.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow exterior modifications (retaining wall, fencing, landscaping and parking), HR-3 District. Robert Apsley, applicant. Approved.

1015 Magnolia St.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow exterior modifications (sidewalks, steps, landscaping and gates), HR-2 District. Robert Apsley, applicant. Approved.

1193 Forsyth St.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow design approval of a landscape plan, HC District. Joseph Okere, applicant. Approved.

695 Monroe St.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow design approval of an accessory building and an awning, HR-3 District. Earlene Harrington, applicant. Approved.

VARIANCES:

695 Monroe St.: Variance in distance requirements to allow an accessory building, HR-3 District. Earlene Harrington, applicant. Approved.

4739 Hawaiian Village Drive: Variance in setback from property line requirements to allow an existing tower, C-4 District. Crown Castle PT Inc., applicant. Approved.

3636 Holley Road: Variance to allow platting of property not fronting a public right-of-way, A-Agricultural District. Charles Jones, Glenda Jones, applicant. Approved.

4035 Metro Way: Variance to allow a beauty salon in an accessory building in a residential district, R-1A District. Phyllis Gibson, applicant. Deferred to Jan. 9 meeting.

SIGNS:

3356 Vineville Ave.: Variance in aggregate sign area requirements, R-3 District. Edwin Andrada; Mike Lewis, The Sign Store, applicant. Approved.

6451 Zebulon Road: Variance in sign requirements to allow a second freestanding sign with variance in design standards (height and area) and variance in distance from a residential structure to allow an electronic graphic display sign (EGD), PDE District. Wendy Marsh, Shady Vent Aluminum Products, applicant. Approved.

3771 Mercer University Drive: Variance in distance from a residential structure to allow an electronic graphic display sign (EGD), C-2 District. Sean King, Best Signs, applicant. Withdrawn.

4450 Forsyth Road: Variance in distance from a residential structure to allow an electronic graphic display sign (EGD), C-2 District. Robert Carson, Money Mizer Pawn & Jewelers, applicant. Withdrawn.

VIOLATIONS:

1831 Wood Valley Road: In violation of Section 26.08[2] and Section 26.08[3] of the Comprehensive Land Development Resolution (parking/storing a commercial vehicle in excess of 10,000 pounds in the front yard). Collette Lester, Fernell Epps. Found in violation, five days to remove vehicle.

229 Briar Creek Way: In violation of Section 27.05 of Comprehensive Land Development Resolution (accessory structures (2) erected without a Zoning Compliance), A-Agricultural District. Michael Solomon, Phyllis Robinson. Withdrawn by staff.

4440 Holley Road: In violation of Section 27.05 of Comprehensive Land Development Resolution (manufactured home as a second dwelling installed without a zoning compliance), A-Agricultural District. Jerry Hicks, Clara Bell Hicks. Referred to Jan 23 meeting.

838 Captain Kell Drive: In violation of Section 26.08(3) of Comprehensive Land Development Resolution (trailer unit used as storage building and located in the front yard), R-1AAA District. Sandy Taylor. Found in violation, five days to remove trailer.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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