Warner Robins City Council approves annexation for new apartment complex, residents object

WARNER ROBINS -- Unless residents successfully obtain an injunction against an action by Warner Robins City Council, a new apartment complex will be built along South Houston Lake Road.

Council approved 5-0 Monday the annexation and rezoning of two properties at South Houston Lake Road and Bass Road, which developers have said will be used for a 287-unit complex with businesses in front. Councilwoman Carolyn Robbins was absent.

“We will file an injunction against the city for the annexation of the property,” said Richard McKee, a Mill Pond subdivision resident.

City Attorney Jim Elliott said he did not think the residents would successfully get an injunction. He did not elaborate.

McKee said he spoke for residents on Kathryn Ryals Road and Bass Road and in Tucker and Mill Pond subdivisions, which include about 270 houses in the area surrounding the impending development.

He said residents wanted the city to conduct an impact study to find out what effects an addition of nearly 300 families will have on schools, traffic and emergency responses.

Mayor Chuck Shaheen said he and council are interested in any comments and concerns from residents, “but we’re also for progress.”

Developers have not said when the project would begin or be completed but have insisted it would not negatively impact the area or its residents.

One of the parcels (28.3 acres) was rezoned from single-family residential to multi-family residential. The second parcel (11.5 acres) was rezoned from agricultural to general commercial district.

Also at the meeting, council members approved 5-0 a new fiscal policy that calls for a reserve account of at least 2½ months in operating expenses at all times.

“We’ve never done that before,” Shaheen said after the meeting. “But I feel it’s important to have a reserve” in case of emergencies.

Shaheen said it costs $2.5 million to $3 million to run the city each month.

Though the mayor said the city intends to begin the reserve account for fiscal 2013, it was not clear Monday evening where it was in the budget council approved last week.

The fiscal year began July 1.

Elliott said the new charter change will be filed with the state but is effective as of the council’s vote.

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.