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Macon-Bibb zoning commission defers decision on rail spur, ethanol facility

A rezoning request to allow a rail spur and a rail to a pipeline ethanol transfer facility in south Bibb County has been deferred until October.

Bob Lovett, a Macon attorney representing Epic Midstream, requested the deferral Monday. It now will be heard Oct. 12 by the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission.

The matter first was before the commission March 23, but it was deferred several times amid protests by some area residents. On July 13, the company withdrew its proposal with plans to bring it back later.

The proposal is to rezone about 50 acres of a wooded area at 2048 Barnes Ferry Road from an agricultural district to a light industrial district. If rezoned, it would be combined with an adjacent 30-acre site currently in a light industrial zone to provide a total of 80 acres to build a rail spur line into the property from the Norfolk Southern mainline and to develop a rail to a pipeline loading station, according to the commission’s staff report.

At the station, ethanol would be pumped from rail tank cars into a proposed underground pipeline that would run in the right of way of Barnes Ferry Road to Hawkinsville Road and end at the storage tank facility owned by Epic Midstream LLC, the applicant for the rezoning. A conditional-use application for the property also was deferred.

The vote to defer was 4-0. Commissioner Jeane Easom was absent.

In another matter, the commission approved a conditional-use application to allow site plan revisions for a previously approved shopping center on about 49 acres at 1771 Bass Road. The matter was on the July 13 agenda, but it was deferred twice by the applicant, The Bishop Co., to allow the commission’s concerns about the design to be addressed.

The Atlanta-based company plans a 302,715-square-foot shopping center, to be called Riverside Centre, which includes a proposed 55,000-square-foot movie theater and seven outparcels along New Forsyth Road that would add another 60,000 square feet of space.

The property is bounded by New Forsyth Road, Bass Road, Wesleyan Drive and Riverside Drive. The proposal includes closing a portion of Wesleyan Drive.

The site is just north of The Shoppes at River Crossing, which would be an advantage, said Philip Cranmer, an associate with The Bishop Co., an Atlanta-based real estate company.

“(Riverside Centre) would allow shoppers to cross shop,” Cranmer said. “It creates more synergy to the area and further solidify it as a regional shopping destination.”

The company made several changes to the site plan, which included separating some large buildings, widening the sidewalks with landscaped islands and adding trees and shrubs around the perimeter, he said.

However, Commission Chairman Kamal Azar asked the developer to try to create more of a plaza area, to move three of the buildings back from the center and to make the parapets -- low protective walls along the edge of the roof -- uniform around the buildings. The commission approved the application with the condition the developer work with the commission staff on the recommended changes.

The proposed shopping center is less than a mile from another large shopping center planned at 1625 Bass Road and Starcadia Circle. Lennar Commercial Investments and Fickling & Co. received zoning commission approval in August for plans to develop a 250,000-square-foot shopping center on about 38 acres. The preliminary plans for this project also include a proposed movie theater.

Other items on the agenda were:

ITEMS DEFERRED FROM AUGUST 24, 2015, HEARING:

1937 College Drive: Conditional use to allow a new construction of a new development (Physical Plant Building), R-3 District. Don Carter, Carter & Sloope, applicant. Approved.

AMENDMENTS:

An amendment to Chapter 4 of the Comprehensive Land Development Resolution for the city of Macon and Bibb County, Georgia to revise the setback requirements for fences and walls in the historic zoning districts. Approved.

ITEMS FROM JUNE 22, 2015, HEARING:

3288 Vineville Ave.: Conditional use to allow a multi-message billboard with variances, C-2 District. Lamar Advertising, George Greer, applicant. Approved.

REZONINGS:

3004 Debra Ann Drive: Proposal to rezone from R-3, Multi-Family Residential District to PDE, Planned Development Extraordinary District. The purpose of this rezoning is to allow a convenience store with gas pumps. Kunj Construction, applicant. Approved.

CONDITIONAL USES:

3280 (3260) Pio Nono Ave.: Conditional use to allow a nightclub/bar/restaurant within an existing shopping center, C-4 District. Julius Bryant Mitchell, applicant. Denied.

3575 Fulton Mill Road: Conditional use to allow two (2) temporary housings building for patients, A-Agriculture District. Widner & Associates, applicant. Approved.

111 LaGrange Place: Conditional use to allow a second single-family dwelling on property, A-Agriculture District. Sandi Simpson, applicant. Approved.

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS:

546 Poplar St.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow design approval of modifications to an existing structure, CBD-1 District. Taste & See Coffee Shop, Bryan Nichols, applicant. Approved.

2038 Vineville Ave.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow design approval of a fence, HR-1 District. Diane “De” Fluker, applicant. Approved.

468 Second St.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow exterior modifications, CBD-1 District. Cesare Mammarella, applicant. Approved.

VARIANCES:

3575 Fulton Mill Road: Variance to allow platting of property not fronting public right of way, A-Agriculture District. Widner & Associates, applicant. Approved.

111 LaGrange Place: Variance in required lot width to place a second dwelling on property, A-Agriculture District. Sandi Simpson, applicant. Approved.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223 or find her on Twitter@MidGaBiz.

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