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Convenience store is planned on spot where bank operated for years

Plans are to renovate the former SunTrust Bank property at 1095 Pio Nono Ave. in Macon for a convenience store with fuel pumps.
Plans are to renovate the former SunTrust Bank property at 1095 Pio Nono Ave. in Macon for a convenience store with fuel pumps. bcabell@macon.com

A convenience store is planned on Pio Nono Avenue at Napier Avenue where SunTrust Bank operated for years.

Plans call for a convenience store with fuel and alcohol sales at 1095 Pio Nono Ave. A conditional-use permit to allow the store with fuel sales was approved Monday by the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission.

The parcel, which consists of the lot on Pio Nono and a lot at 2627 Napier Avenue, is a little more than 1 acre. The former bank building, which is about 2,900 square feet, would be renovated into a convenience store "similar to the Circle K" that recently opened on Northside Drive at Forest Hill Road, said Kunj Patel, at the zoning commission meeting. The bank closed in mid-2000.

Plans include the removal of the existing drive-thru canopy, installation of a glass store-front and of a fuel canopy and gas islands. It would not be open 24 hours, Patel said.

"The store and fuel would increase traffic since the property has been vacant for about a decade," and it is also expected to increase noise in the area, according to the commission's staff report. However, it also said that "the proposal should not have a negative impact on the area."

Steve Esmond said at the meeting he lives on Courtland Avenue and about 500 feet from the proposed store. He said he was happy the vacant building was going to be occupied until he learned it was going to be a convenience store. He said there was no need for another such store in the area.

It would allow more people to congregate and there was "more opportunity for litter. ... It's going to change the entire atmosphere of that tiny area of Pio Nono."

The convenience store is already permitted in that district and "the only thing we are permitting is gas use," said Commissioner Bryan Scott.

The permit was approved 3-0 as chairman Kamal Azar was absent and commissioner Ashook Patel recused himself from the matter due to a conflict of interest.

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