Development with lofts, retail approved for north Bibb County

lmorris@macon.comJuly 8, 2013 

A revised plan for a north Bibb County development includes multifamily residential units above retail spaces on the ground floor.

The Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission approved Monday conditional-use permits to allow revisions to an approved master site plan and to allow final site plan approval of a mixed-use development at 5435-5441 Bowman Road off Bass Road.

The site, between the Publix shopping center and Mellow Mushroom restaurant, already has been rough graded.

Originally, the second phase of the Bass Plantation development called for large retailers ranging from 15,000-to-30,000 square feet each, but the lagging economy changed those plans.

The current plan for the Lofts at Bass Plantation calls for 54 residential units on the top three floors of a four-story building with 18,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor, said Zan Thompson with ZT3 Placemaker Studio, owner of a Macon urban planning and design firm.

Plans call for 24 one-bedroom units and 30 two-bedroom units.

A swimming pool with a cabana for residents will be enclosed with an 8-foot-high stucco wall, said Jim Daws, president of Sierra Development Group, which is developing the project with Southern Pines Commercial Group.

“What we are going to try to do is try to make the whole area more pedestrian-friendly with sidewalks and crosswalks,” Daws said. “This is more like a live-work-play area so (residents) can walk to the grocery store or walk across the street (to other businesses).”

Plans include adding garage units for residents at the rear of the building, Thompson said.

Three adjacent parcels, one next to a lake, are designated for restaurants.

In another matter, the commission deferred until the July 22 meeting a conditional-use permit for a bar/nightclub at 557 Cherry St.

Commission Chairwoman Sarah Gerwig-Moore said some commissioners are concerned about allowing a bar on the second floor of a downtown building and the use of amplified music, especially until 2 a.m. Recently, the commission approved loft apartments in an adjoining building.

The applicant, John Barnes, who at one time planned to have jazz music in the space, said during Monday’s meeting that he expects to have bands at least two Fridays a month with “loud music” and that he thought the walls were sound-proofed.

The commission asked Barnes to come up with a written plan of what he expects to do in the building and to meet with owners of adjacent property to get input.

Other items on the agenda:


315 College St.: Conditional use to allow a place of assembly/music conservatory in an existing building, HPD District. Dunwody/Beeland Architects Inc., Mercer University, applicant. Approved.

192 New St.: Conditional use to allow a place of assembly, CBD-2 District. Widner & Associates, applicant. Approved.


776 Baconsfield Drive: Variance in setback requirements to allow relocation of an existing billboard, C-4 District. Butler Marshall, et al, Lamar Advertising Inc., applicant. Approved.

0 North Ave.: Variance in setback requirements to allow relocation of an existing billboard, C-4 District. Ocmulgee Fields, Lamar Advertising Inc., applicant. Approved.

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