Developer pitches gated Lake Tobesofkee subdivision to Bibb commissioners

mstucka@macon.comDecember 4, 2012 

A Knoxville, Tenn., developer said Tuesday he is interested in building a gated community on Lake Tobesofkee, but Bibb County commissioners would have to overturn one of their ordinances in the next two weeks to make the project viable.

Scott Rye, CEO of Tennessee firm LW Investments, said his company needs to decide whether to go ahead with the development by Dec. 20. One obstacle standing in the way: The law.

Rye said his company wanted to put in a private boat ramp and about 10 community boat slips. Both are prohibited under an August 2007 Bibb County ordinance pushed by then-chairman Charlie Bishop, who is no longer on the commissions..

Commissioners agreed Tuesday to ask their attorneys for advice on revising or purging the ordinance, and plan to consider proposals at their Dec. 18 meeting.

Rye said construction could start as early as the second quarter of 2013. Some 72 houses on 140 acres -- 28 with lakefront lots -- are contemplated. No subdivision name has been chosen.

The company is also asking commissioners to abandon a long-disused right-of-way across the property. Bibb County Engineer Ken Sheets said Old Mill Creek Road has just a 30-foot right-of-way that was created in 1872.

Separately, commissioners also rejected a proposal by Macon businessman Alex Habersham to reach out to local minority-owned businesses and other small companies for government work. Habersham proposed a $15,000 package that would cost $3,000 a year to run, based on a website he built for Macon’s government.

Bibb County Commissioner Joe Allen found scant support among other commissioners, though, who said they liked the goals but found problems. Among them: They didn’t know exactly how the county purchasing office and other officials were already working in the same area. Commissioners were told about vendor recruitment efforts a year ago, and have discussed them since.

Commissioner Elmo Richardson had other criticisms, including the request for $15,000 for the kind of work Habersham is already doing, or the idea of awarding the work to Habersham without putting it out to bid.

Commissioner Bert Bivins criticized Allen, saying Allen had helped kill off a proposal to address the same problem before.

“Sometimes people make mistakes, Mr. Bivins,” Allen replied. “I’m willing to say that: I made a mistake.”

Separately, commissioners voted unanimously to pay exactly $22,000 in attorney’s fees and other expenses over a lawsuit over which election maps to use in the recent Bibb County school board election.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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