Macon’s Tremont Baptist Church demolition rehearing set for Monday

lmorris@macon.comFebruary 22, 2014 

On Monday, the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission will again consider a permit to demolish Tremont Baptist Church in downtown Macon.

At its Dec. 9 meeting, the commission denied a demolition request by members of the church, built in 1897 at 860 Forsyth St., and therefore did not approve the design of a proposed new building on the site.

In order to get a rehearing, Tremont had to submit “new or additional written information” that was not available at the original hearing.

At the Feb. 10 meeting, church representatives submitted the following:

• A letter from an engineering company that described the damaged and deteriorating condition of the building, saying it was “in danger of imminent collapse.”

• A letter signed by Tom Buttram from Macon-Bibb County Business Development Services, formerly the Department of Inspection and Fees, that said a barrier had been put in the alley between the church and The Medical Center of Central Georgia to prevent vehicles from using it.

• A preliminary estimate of $623,000 from Macon-based Piedmont Construction Co. to stabilize the church building.

The rehearing request was approved only after a motion to deny the rehearing did not pass. Commissioner Jeane Easom made a motion to deny the rehearing. She and Chairwoman Sarah Gerwig-Moore voted to deny it, but commissioners Kamal Azar, Bryan Scott and Ashok Patel voted against the denial.

Before the original demolition request, the church obtained a contract to sell the property after demolition, and it remains under contract. Lou Patel, of D&D Middle Ga. LLC, wants to build a Dunkin’ Donuts shop on the site after the church is razed. The property had been for sale for several years.

From the time the matter was first heard Nov. 12, talk of demolishing the decaying, vacant church building drew opposition from the Historic Macon Foundation. The group offered to buy the property for the same contracted price the church has with Patel. However, the church’s congregation has voted to continue to pursue the contract with Patel.

Monday’s meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. in the 10th floor conference room, Willie C. Hill City Hall Annex, 682 Cherry St.

Other items on the agenda are:

CONDITIONAL USES:

4175 Bloomfield Road: Conditional use to allow a freestanding ice machine, C-4 District. Jeff Dyson, Kooler Ice Inc., applicant.

2219 Gray Highway and 2225 Gray Highway: Conditional use to allow modular and manufactured home sales, C-2 District. Ken Inboden, Chad Aycook, American Dream Homes, applicant.

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

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