Business

Macon-Bibb zoning commission delays decision on rail spur for third time

An application to rezone about 50 acres for a rail spur to a fuel storage facility was deferred for the third time Tuesday by the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission.

The proposal by Texas-based Epic Midstream to rezone 2048 Barnes Ferry Road from an agricultural district to a wholesale and light industrial district would allow a rail spur from the Norfolk Southern main line to serve a rail pipeline loading station for ethanol.

Epic attorney George Greer said the rail spur would be used about once a month for about a 24-hour period.

“It will take about 11 trucks a day (hauling ethanol) off the roads,” Greer said.

Epic has taken additional steps to “be a good neighbor” by increasing the buffer from 50 feet to 100 feet.

This item had been deferred from the March 23 and April 13 meetings. The April deferral was to allow nearby residents an opportunity to receive a response about the current remediation project for a nearby jet fuel pipeline.

But it was not clear from Tuesday’s meeting if they had received the information they were looking to get.

Arthur Hubbard, who said he represented a nearby neighborhood, said residents don’t want the rail spur because of problems with leaks from a jet fuel pipeline that some have dealt with for years. Some wells in the area have been polluted due to the fuel leaks, he said.

However, Greer said Epic bought the facility in 2012, and the previous owner was responsible for issues with the jet fuel leaks. He said the matter was being monitored by federal officials.

He said the issue before the commission was whether the site was appropriate for the rezoning requested.

“It’s not a forum to litigate” the oil leakage that happened in the 1980s, he said.

Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Elaine Lucas told the commission she was there “to address the concerns” of residents in the area. She said the matter had been discussed by a city-county commission committee earlier Tuesday morning.

“There is evidence of contamination already in this area,” said Lucas, who was concerned about the health and welfare of the residents.

She asked the commission to delay again a decision on the rezoning application until the local government’s legal department could look into the matter.

Several other people spoke, asking the commission to either deny the rezoning or delay it.

Even though P&Z Commissioner Jeane Easom questioned what would be accomplished by deferring the matter again, the commission unanimously agreed to defer it to the June 8 meeting.

In another matter, Bibb County Probate Judge Sarah Harris swore in Tim Jones as a zoning commissioner. He replaces Sarah Gerwig-Moore, whose term expired.

The commission Tuesday first addressed the items that were to be heard May 11. That meeting had to be canceled because of inadequate legal notification.

The items from that agenda were:

REZONINGS:

3996 Elnora Drive: Proposal to rezone from A-Agricultural District to R-3, Multi-Family Residential District. The purpose of this rezoning is to allow for garden style apartments. RST The Pines, LP, applicant. Approved.

CONDITIONAL USES:

3996 Elnora Drive: Conditional use to allow a new 84-unit multi-family apartment complex, A-Agricultural District (R-3 pending). Roundstone Development; Bob Colvard, applicant. Approved.

3170 Millerfield Road: Conditional use to allow a convenience store with fuel sales and alcohol sales packaged to go, C-1 District. Kunj Construction, applicant. Approved.

100 S. Heron Drive: Conditional use to allow a convenience store with fuel sales and alcohol sales packaged to go, C-2 District. Kunj Construction, applicant. Approved.

2518 Pio Nono Ave.: Conditional use to allow a car wash, C-2 District. Sidney Haynes, applicant. Approved.

1701 Shurling Drive: Conditional use to allow live entertainment at a previously approved nightclub, C-2 District. Danyell Reaves, applicant. Approved.

1510, 1530, 1550 Mercer University Drive (a/k/a 1580, 1594 Mercer University Drive): Conditional use to allow a hotel, restaurant and retail development, PDE District. Carter & Sloope, Chris Clark, applicant. Approved.

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS:

310 Cherry St.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow design approval of a wall sign, CBD-1 District. The Sign Store, Tubman Museum, applicant. Approved.

1268 Ross St.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow design approval of a fence, HPD-BH District. Jose Pino, applicant. Approved.

811 College St.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow design approval of a porch, HR-3 District. Emily Culpepper, Terry Holland, applicant. Approved.

RATIFICATION:

3068 Riverside Drive: Conditional use to allow an auto dealership expansion, C-2 District [15-20499]. Wayne Taylor, Five Star, applicant. Approved.

Other items on the May 26 agenda were:

REZONINGS:

1638 Anthony Road: Proposal to rezone from R-1, Single-Family Residential District to R-3, Multi-Family Residential District. The purpose of this rezoning is to allow for six units, one bedroom senior apartments, Mount Vernon Baptist Church; Rev. Henry Ficklin, applicant. Approved.

5612 Houston Road: Proposal to rezone from A-Agricultural District to C-2, General Commercial District. The purpose of this rezoning is to allow for a restaurant. Wilbert Thurmon, applicant. Approved.

MANUFACTURED HOMES:

5693 Hunnicutt Road: Variance in manufactured home width requirements, A-Agricultural District. Thomas Williams, applicant. Approved.

CONDITIONAL USES:

5005 Riverside Drive: Conditional use to allow outdoor seating at an existing restaurant, C-2 District. Danny Rosales, applicant. Approved.

3225 Pio Nono Ave.: Conditional use to allow a day care center, C-4 District. Erica Brown, applicant. Approved.

3518 Jeffersonville Road: Conditional use to allow an EGD sign with variance in distance requirements between an EGD sign and a residential structure, C-1 District. Jaswant Singh, applicant. Approved.

2106 Old Clinton Road: Conditional use to allow a clear cut timber harvest, PDE District. Roberts Timber Co., applicant. Approved.

6860 Lower Thomaston Road: Conditional use to allow a convenience store with fuel and alcohol sales, A-Agricultural District. Mike Ford, Mark Whitley and Vijay Bairi, applicants. Denied.

5665 New Forsyth Road: Conditional use to allow revisions to a previously approved site plan and conceptual master plan approval, PDE District. Cunningham & Co., applicant. Approved.

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS:

479 Cherry St.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow design approval of new signage, CBD-1 District. Jean Bragg, applicant. Approved.

VARIANCES:

3225 Pio Nono Ave.: Variances in setback requirements (3) and lot width requirements (1) for a day care center, C-4 District. Erica Brown, applicant. Approved.

VIOLATIONS:

2721 Flewellyn Drive: In violation of Section 23.01 [3] [j] of the Comprehensive Land Development Resolution of operating an illegal home occupation (auto repair/salvage). William and Valencia Barnes. Owner did not appear. No action taken.

791 Liberty St.: In violation of Section 25.05 [1] of the Comprehensive Land Development Resolution of an off premise/site sign has been erected on the property, Nicholas Rizakalla. Owner did not appear. No action taken.

Information from The Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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