WR council denies rezoning for storage facility

WARNER ROBINS — The Warner Robins City Council listened to the voices of White Columns subdivision residents as the council denied the rezoning of 3 acres of land along Cohen Walker Road for a second time during their regular pre-council meeting Monday. The vote was 4-3 with Mayor Donald S. Walker and City Councilmen Clifford Holmes, Bob Wilbanks and John Havrilla voting against it. City Councilmen Terry Horton, John Williams and Tom Simms voted for it. “The city of Warner Robins does listen to your problems,” Walker told the crowd.

At the March 16 meeting, the City Council’s pre-council chambers was packed with the subdivision’s residents who voiced opposition to rezoning 11 acres along Cohen Walker Road from neighborhood service commercial to general commercial for a self-storage facility. The Warner Robins planning and zoning board denied the request and the City Council followed suit.

However, the City Council was reconsidering the rezoning on the smaller portion of the land. Gary Potts, who planned to develop the self-storage facility, told the City Council that he met with homeowners in the subdivision last week and promised to place a buffer, fence and additional landscaping around the development to assuage the residents. He said he and the residents had reached a mutual agreement.

“It’s truly a neighborhood service business that can add to the attractiveness of the area,” Potts said.

Yet, the dozen or so residents who showed up at the meeting with a petition signed by 80 property owners in the subdivision told a different tale.

“No one said they wanted to have this particular building behind us,” resident Collette Martinez said. “We preferred having a business that would be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.”

Horton motioned to approve the rezoning.

“I believe it is in the best interest of the homeowners and Mr. Potts to put this kind of development instead of something that could be way more detrimental to the homeowners,” Horton said.

However, Wilbanks said that the atmosphere indicated that the homeowners were vehemently against it.

“I want to see the homeowners that are for it and they’re not here,” Wilbanks said.

The City Council also approved an agreement with the Houston County Board of Health where the Warner Robins Recreation Department will receive a $3,400 to promote healthier eating. The department will promote the Smart Choices Campaign, which calls for providing more nutritious options at vending machines and concession stands.

To contact writer Natasha Smith, call 923-3109, extension 236.