Developer to take another shot at Bass/Rivoli project

The owner of a 70-acre site in north Bibb County has filed a request for a rehearing of a zoning decision made in April.

The request by the Dunwody & Sams Trust, which owns the property at 5646 Rivoli Drive at Bass Road, is expected to be considered at the June 22 meeting of the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission. No oral testimony is allowed during the rehearing.

After months of meetings and negotiations between the developers and some residents who opposed plans for the property, the commission agreed in April to rezone the property from an agricultural district to a planned development residential district. The purpose of the rezoning was to allow a mixed-use senior-housing community called Founders Pond, which would include townhouses, single-family homes and a retirement center.

The density of the project is mostly what divided the developer, the commission and residents.

The commission did not grant the applicant’s plan, which called for a total density of 6.9 units per acre, and it didn’t agree with the opposing residents, including a group called North Bibb Citizen’s Coalition, which was seeking a total density of 3.3 units per acre.

The commission agreed to a maximum gross density of 5 units per acre – a number that had not been discussed by anyone.

“We are appealing the fact that they set the density to a density that neither the opposition nor we had submitted any data on that showed that the project was good or bad at that density, and because their selection of density was arbitrary,” said Zan Thompson, owner of ZT3 Placemaker Studio, an urban planning and design company representing the property owner.

Thompson said he’s doubtful the appeal will be granted since the commission has already had several hearings on the matter.

“But we’ve done a site plan that shows them what five units per acre done as single-family (housing) would look like,” Thompson said. “But it’s not what we want, the property owner wants, the opposition wants and it’s not what P&Z wants. We’re hoping that would show them that they either need to give us the density so we can do the senior housing or just turn it down and leave (the zoning) the way it was.”

The planning and zoning meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. June 22 at Macon City Hall.

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