Warner Robins neighbors band together against rezoning

mstucka@macon.comApril 3, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- Wynn Place was a quiet street, the kind of place where grandchildren rode their bikes with few worries and neighbors looked out for each other. On Wednesday night, signs were put up and down the street, proof that several dozen neighbors are in a tumult over a rezoning request they say could put 180 apartments on their street.

Those neighbors are mobilized for a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Tuesday, in which developer LRG Construction Services LLC is supposed to present a preliminary plan for the site, which borders Russell Parkway and sits behind a hotel that faces Robins Air Force Base.

Wayne Tyson, who has lived on Wynn Place since 2007, said apartments would destroy the character of the neighborhood.

“It’s going to be a mess, packed in there like sardines,” he said. “The value of this neighborhood’s going to plummet.”

According to the minutes of last month’s Planning and Zoning meeting, a representative of LRG was requesting R-4 rezoning to develop multi-residential buildings to include apartments, single-family dwellings and townhouses of an entry-level type. The development would be closer to the railroad tracks. The commission tabled the request, so the developer could bring a plan.

LRG is proposing to rezone five parcels, totaling some 25.45 acres, into a single piece of property, with access down Wynn Place. A representative from LRG could not be reached for comment.

Sherri Windham, Planning and Zoning director, said the company has submitted a really rough conceptual zoning plan that requests the R-4 zoning, which covers multifamily residential properties.

“They have not told us what they’re going to put there,” she said Friday.

Wynn Place connects to Wellborn Road and has two small side streets. If 180 apartments are built, said Jim Dennis, a veteran of Korea and Vietnam, “this street is going to witness 300 to 400 vehicles (per day), maybe even more. ... I’ve lived here 38 years, and I have no desire to leave.”

Dennis also worries about crime. He said he has nothing particularly against apartment residents, but the numbers are against them.

“The amount of residents that’s going to come in, there’s going to be undesirables,” Dennis said.

Residents said they could remember one crime on the street in the last four or five years. Everyone looks out for each other, they said.

Barbara Thompson, a 46-year resident, said one of her neighbors confronted a man who was just moseying up and down the street. When the man couldn’t explain why he was there, the neighbor suggested he leave.

“We’re so careful about who enters this area,” Thompson said.

If several hundred new residents move in, the neighbors say, that won’t be possible.

The Planning and Zoning meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Warner Robins City Hall.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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