Perry council approves rezoning in spite of opposition

bpurser@macon.comJanuary 21, 2014 

PERRY -- In spite of opposition from Holly Hills subdivision residents, the City Council voted 5-1 in favor of rezoning nearly 30 acres at the corner of U.S. 41 South and Greenwood Drive from residential to commercial.

Several Holly Hills residents expressed rezoning concerns at the meeting, including pedestrian safety with expected increased traffic.

Another chief concern was the unknown of what developers may place on the site under the commercial designation, which is the least restrictive of the commercial zoning districts.

“We just don’t want to get stuck with something like a strip club or anything that’s going to drop the property value,” said Holly Hills resident Joe Goodroe after the meeting. “We’re not rich or anything. But we work hard.”

Another issue raised was the potential for increased stormwater runoff. The rezoning also was opposed by several of the subdivision residents at the public hearing Jan. 7.

Property owners Beckham Family LP agreed to a 75-foot buffer between the development and the residential neighborhood, while seven vacant lots within the original proposal would remain residential. Also, a driveway entry would not be permitted from Greenwood Drive or Briarcliff Road.

The number of entrances that would be permitted from U.S. 41 would be under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Transportation. The city staff recommended no more than two entrances.

The Beckham family sought the rezoning in an effort to make the property a more desirable purchase.

Also Tuesday, council members denied a request to deannex a 1-acre property owned by Hill Road resident Chenelle Colon.

Colon, who also spoke at the Jan. 7 public hearing, said she didn’t see any benefit of her property being in the city. She was not at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Also, approved on first reading was an application for an alcohol license for wine to be sold to go at the Coffee Cup and Red Barn Vineyards at its new location at 900 Carroll St.

Owner Martin Glenn Myers noted that the business is not a package store but would only sell bottled wine from wineries. A second reading is required for approval.

In other business, a proposal to spend $7,000 to look at converting the Creekside pool to a splash pad was pulled from the agenda.

During the earlier precouncil meeting Tuesday, Councilman Riley Hunt said he would like to see the pool closed, while Councilwoman Phyllis Bynum-Grace said she wasn’t ready to get out of the pool business.

The facility is the only public pool in Perry. City Manager Lee Gilmour noted that the pool is not up to health codes and that finding qualified lifeguards has been an issue.

Council members agreed to allow the recreation committee to take a look at the issue.

Also during the precouncil meeting, council members again discussed the need for a task force to look at animal control issues.

Council members decided to talk about what the task force would be expected to do at the council’s first work session in February.

The task force is expected to look at whether the current animal shelter, which Mayor Jimmy Faircloth characterized as “deplorable,” can be upgraded and to identify possible alternative sites.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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