Panel postpones action on Bass/Rivoli plan until Feb. 23

During a sometimes noisy meeting Monday, zoning commissioners deferred to February an application to allow a mixed-residential development on 70 acres in north Bibb County.

The proposed development, Founder’s Pond at Rivoli, at the Bass Road, Rivoli Drive intersection, includes townhouses, apartments, single-family homes and a retirement community.

About 200 people crowded into Macon City Hall to protest the application. The density of the project and traffic issues highlighted their concerns.

Commissioners also voiced concerns about the density of the proposal and the proposed multi-family units in the project. They said the applicant should meet with commission staff and community representatives before the issue comes before them again at the Feb. 23 meeting.

“... We will work with you on the density,” said planner Zan Thompson of ZT3 Placemaker Studio who’s representing the landowner, Dunwody & Sams Trust.

Bibb County Commissioner Elmo Richardson, who has lived on Rivoli Drive for more than 30 years, spoke against the rezoning, saying it was inconsistent with the neighborhood.

More than 800 residents signed a petition opposing the plan.

“This is not a transitional area,” said Richardson, who is co-chair of the North Bibb Citizens Coalition, formed to oppose the project. “It is surrounded by owner-occupied, single-family homes.”

In reference to the property being zoned agricultural, he said: “We would welcome horses and cattle back out there.”

Tom Richardson, an attorney representing the coalition, said the proposed use was spot zoning and would be “a radical departure” from the existing neighborhood.

Thompson argued that the proposed use was not spot zoning “by any definition” and that there were several other planned development districts in the area.

If the project is built as proposed it would be valued at about $185 million, and it would bring about $2.5 million to $3 million in tax revenue to the county a year, Thompson said.

But the proposed project would not be built overnight.

“It could be 10 years before this property is developed,” Thompson said.

After the meeting coalition co-chairman Lawrence Mink said he was pleased with the commission’s decision to delay action.

“We’ve always maintained that we want to be good neighbors but at the same time preserve what we consider a unique part of the county with its single-family homes,” Mink said.

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