An event rental space planned for downtown got the nod from the Macon-Bibb Planning & Zoning Commission on Monday, but commissioners also addressed noise concerns.
Educe 385, planned in the vacant space at 385 Second St., across the street from Cox Capitol Theater, would have to be soundproofed, and events would have to end by midnight, the commission stipulated at its regular meeting.
Materra Drafts, representing the applicant, Marshall Talley, told commissioners that she could be ready to open in a month if the request was approved.
Commissioner Jeane Easom told Drafts she could start building, and her application would be approved in about two weeks, when a new noise ordinance is expected to be crafted.
“I don’t plan on being open (until) 4-5 o’clock in the morning,” Drafts told commissioners at one point. “I’m not trying to open a bar. I just want to open an event rental space.”
Executive Director Jim Thomas said an event venue would likely have the same impact that a bar would.
Aubrey Newby represented Damaste Real Estate, which owns apartments in an adjacent building and several other downtown properties.
Newby expressed concerns about who would set the parameters of a noise ordinance and how it would be done. He said all Damaste’s event spaces have a midnight cutoff.
“What I want to see is a neutral third party that’s not involved in this situation,” Newby said, adding that there have been recent issues with noise complaints on Cherry Street. “I just want to make sure that there’s a plan in place. … We want to do what’s fair to both of us.”
There was conversation about measuring decibel levels, but Thomas said “it’s not as simple as just a decibel level. … It gets in the bass.
He added, “Even a soft thump, thump, thump coming through the wall can keep somebody from sleeping.”
With two commissioners absent, the board agreed 3-0 to let work begin. Drafts will have to put in a soundproof barrier between the adjacent building, the board decided. She also will have to get a business license.
In other matters, the commission unanimously approved a rezoning at 5372 Rivoli Drive to allow for five single-family homes to be built where a house built in 1948 is located. The house will be demolished to make room for the homes, applicant Tony Butler said.
Another property also was unanimously approved for rezoning. Phoenix Trading Inc. plans to renovate a building at 1873 Hardeman Ave. into 10 apartments. Steven Rowland, the applicant, told commissioners he didn’t yet know what kinds of alterations the building would require. The board said an architectural review would be required.
The building is part of the Victorian Village development, which is a mixed-use development with commercial, office and residential uses.
In other business Monday, the commission approved the following:
2900 Jeffersonville Road: Conditional use to allow a package store in an existing tenant space, M-1 District. Prakash Patel, Applicant.
5263 Bloomfield Road: Conditional use to allow a day care center in an existing structure, R-1A District. Out and Up., dba Joshua House Early Care & Learning center, Applicant.
152 New Street: Conditional use to allow a non-emergency ambulance transportation business in an existing location, CBD-2 District. Elite Ambulance Transportation/Tyron Marcus, Applicant.
1717 Keystone Street: Conditional use to allow used auto sales at an existing location, C-2 District. WE Automotive, LLC/Winston Williams, Applicant.
5451 Bowman Road: Conditional use to allow a learning center in an existing shopping center, PDE District. Rucker Right, Inc./Jeff Rucker, Applicant.