Warner Robins repeals Russell Parkway overlay district

chwright@macon.comMay 8, 2012 

WARNER ROBINS -- Development restrictions that officials say have stunted growth on Russell Parkway have been lifted, a Warner Robins Planning and Zoning committee decided Tuesday.

The committee voted 5-0 to abandon a 2005 overlay district, which Councilman Mike Brashear said has prevented property owners in the area from selling their land to developers. The council voted last month to ask the committee to consider the repeal.

“The worst thing you can say to a developer is there’s an overlay,” said Brashear, whose district includes the affected area.

An overlay sets a separate set of requirements for a district, superseding the zoning requirements of that area.

The Russell Parkway overlay was put in place after the arterial road was extended from Houston Lake Road to Interstate 75 in 2005.

Walter Gray, city engineer, said the council at the time thought the street would become a major entrance into the city and wanted to create “an aesthetically pleasing” gateway.

Gray told the committee there are a couple of overlay requirements that could be beneficial, such as limiting the number of driveways and the joining of parking lots to reduce in-and-out traffic on Russell Parkway.

After Tuesday’s decision, the area will now follow the city’s regular planning and zoning requirements.

“If there’s something specific that comes up, then we’ll revisit some of it,” he said, adding that he doesn’t see a possible traffic concern because Lakeview Road could be used for access.

Brashear said existing businesses, landowners and residents who spent additional money on the stringent requirements had asked that the overlay be repealed

“Already, companies have expressed their interest” when hearing the repeal was being considered, Brashear said.

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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