Board approves new look for old part of Warner Robins

mstucka@macon.comMay 12, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- The oldest part of Warner Robins is poised to get a new look.

With little discussion and no opposition, the Warner Robins Redevelopment Agency on Monday approved new design standards for Watson Boulevard, and separately agreed to seek a $902,000 grant to upgrade the look of the area.

Both recommendations will go on to City Council, which earlier agreed to a moratorium on new commercial and industrial development in the area until the design standards were completed. The design standards will also get a public hearing and a review by the Planning and Zoning board, said Bill Mulkey, the city’s building and transportation director.

Mulkey said the architectural controls are planned “to redevelop a downtown corridor.” The area is now home to many car dealers and other operations using metal buildings. Among the changes: The new standards call for exposed walls to be built using brick, stone and, in some places, a stucco-like synthetic finish known as exterior insulation and finishing system. Flat roofs would have to be hidden behind parapets. Other restrictions cover lighting, fencing and signs.

Mulkey said he didn’t think the proposal would generate controversy. A public hearing may occur in the next few weeks.

The corridor’s look won’t change overnight. The city began changing the look when it built the Warner Robins Law Enforcement Center close to Ga. 247 and Robins Air Force Base. But other changes will come when new businesses are built or existing businesses make substantial changes, which will trigger requirements for the new standards.

“It’s not a quick fix,” Mulkey said. “It’s a long-term solution. I think it’s a good start.”

The changes govern businesses along stretches of Watson Boulevard, Green Street, North Davis Drive and Armed Forces Boulevard, in an area east of South Pleasant Hill Road and north of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The Redevelopment Agency is seeking the $902,000 state Transportation Enhancement grant to leverage $390,000 in local money from a special purpose local option sales tax, said Gary Lee, executive director of the Redevelopment Agency. Most of the proposal is to replace lighting, sidewalk, curbs and gutters along Watson Boulevard. Four-foot-wide grassy strips would be built next to five-foot-wide sidewalks on either side.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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