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Former school rezoning approved

The Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Comission approved Monday a rezoning permit to allow mixed-use development at the site of a former Lizella elementary school.

The unanimous move allows for the former Redding Elementary School, located at 8062 Eisenhower Parkway, to be rezoned from a residential district to a planned development extraordinary district.

The board also approved two conditional-use permits to allow a 20,631-square-foot community center and a 9,120-square-foot office building on the site. A conditional-use permit for a 7,000-square-foot retail center was denied.

Commissioners said retail business was not a good fit for the residential area. Vice Chairwoman Sarah Gerwig-Moore said low-impact businesses, such as insurance companies and accountants’ offices, would be better suited for the site.

Tony Widner, owner of Widner & Associates and a representative of owner Ashok Patel, said those were the types of businesses planned for the space. Commissioners said he could come back and ask for that type of conditional use.

Two Lizella residents spoke against the rezoning.

Juanita Jordan said the area’s population wasn’t big enough to support new businesses. She also worried the community center would attract too many people to the rural area.

“This is right in the middle of a rural, residential area. I don’t think it’s compatible,” she said.

Widner said the community center would be used as a “life center” to host members of the owner’s religious beliefs. There are only about 20 people in the area who belong to the small Hindu group, Widner said.

The life center would be used for meditation seminars and classes, he said. Once or twice a year, a larger gathering may attract about 100 people, he said.

Also Monday, the zoning commission approved in a 3-2 vote a conditional-use permit for a nightclub with alcohol in a south Macon shopping center.

The nightclub, to be called Sinsations South, would go in a 5,400-square-foot space at South Macon Plaza, 1508 Rocky Creek Road. Plans include a 960-square-foot dance floor and 60 seats.

The club will feature “bikini dancers, belly dancers and pole dancers,” according to documents.

There will be no nudity, documents state. The club’s owner, Ennis Odom, also owns another bikini bar, Club Sinsations, on Riverside Drive.

The property previously has been home to restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

James Bumpus, pastor at Tremont Temple Missionary Baptist Church, said he opposed the club.

“There are a lot of negative elements that we are dealing with in the Bloomfield, south Macon area,” he said. “We are in the process of trying to stabilize a neighborhood. ... I don’t think the presence of Sinsations is going to promote the health and safety of south Macon.”

Commissioners Jacqueline Hightower and Arthur Hubbard voted against the measure.

Other items on Monday’s agenda:

REZONINGS

510 Crisp St., 2736-2966 Blount St., 2711-2975 Antioch Road, 517 Rutherford Ave.: Proposal to rezone from M-1, Wholesale and Light Industrial District to R-2, Two-Family Residential District. The purpose of this rezoning is to bring the zoning classification of the property into conformity with current and proposed land uses. Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission, applicant. Approved.

CONDITIONAL USES

1187 Riverside Drive: Conditional use to allow an auto detail service/car wash service at an existing used car sales lot, C-2 District. Shelter Dean; Riverside Detail, applicant. Approved.

435 Third St.: Conditional use to allow a banquet hall/nightclub in an existing building, CDB-1 District. Darryl Wash, applicant. Approved.

1730 West End Ave.: Conditional use to allow expansion of an existing university (office and welcome center) with variance in side yard setback requirements, R-3 District. Dunwody/ Beeland, Architects, applicant. Approved.

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

536 Third St.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow design approval of a fire escape, CBD-1 District. Aubrey Newby; Damaste Real Estate, applicant. Approved.

533 Cherry St.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow replacement of a canopy, CBD-1 District. Jason Rogers; Facade Squad, applicant. Approved.

VARIANCES

2827 Glen Echo Drive: Variance in placement requirements to allow a detached accessory building, A-Agricultural District. Grant Tilley, applicant. Approved.

INTERPRETATIONS

Interpretation of Section 23.01 [2] (d) of the Comprehensive Land Development Resolution to allow screen printing as a home occupation. Dan Zook, applicant. Allowed.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was used in this report.

To contact writer Jennifer Burk, call 744-4345.

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