Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mourns loss of Lawton Miller Jr.

On behalf of the State Bar of Georgia, I would like to express condolences to the family, colleagues and many friends of longtime Macon attorney A. Lawton Miller Jr. on his recent passing.

During his distinguished career in the legal profession, Miller was engaged in the practice of law for more than 50 years with the family firm of Miller, Miller & Miller in downtown Macon before his retirement in 2014. He was an active member of the Macon Bar Association.

Miller also served his country as an Army veteran with the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in Heidelberg, Germany, during the 1960s and later with the Air Force Reserves at Robins Air Force Base, retiring in 1987 after 25 years of service during which he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Lawton Miller’s exemplary lifetime of service is an inspiration to all Georgia lawyers. We are appreciative of his many contributions to the cause of justice in our state and nation.

Brian D. “Buck” Rogers

President, State Bar of Georgia

Wants larger fines

This is one of many dysfunctional Macon-Bibb County departments that needs immediate replacement of personnel. This is the number to call to complain about uncared for homes. I, like many others, own rental homes that suffer due to those who refuse to maintain their properties. When I call I requested not to be identified. That was disregarded twice in one week. Breach of confidentiality should cause immediate terminations. I know that you have to kill someone to be terminated. That should change.

Our mayor and commissioners lack leadership or willingness to resolve long-standing problems. Fines starting at $200 and rising to $500 on the third violation will result in property liens and foreclosures. If after paying my thousands of dollars in taxes, I should get refunds due to such incompetence.

Joe Hubbard,

Macon

Protect the heart

I sympathize with The Telegraph journalist because the Planning & Zoning voice amplification system was its usual deficient self at the last meeting. I arrived early to sit close, signed in, called first and carefully identified myself to the board as required, clearly stating that I was not a resident near the project and that I would surrender the floor immediately if one living near the site wished to speak. I explained why I was there; one familiar with this area of Zebulon Road and the demarcation line of church/school between commercial and residential zoning established years ago, having served as a commissioner near this time era, denying commercial development at Zebulon/Bass, etc., and my concern about the continuing assault upon existing neighborhoods by commercial development.

I complimented P&Z staff on their excellent project presentation via computer allowing me to review same while out of town. Even though I felt certain the outcome of this hearing was a forgone conclusion, I believed that my review had resulted in pertinent project questions, comments and suggestions, requiring responses.

This opinion was validated as I observed commissioners making notes as I spoke. I expressed the opinion that Zebulon Road, east of this site along with other residential neighborhoods on nearby roads will soon be under severe pressure for other development courtesy of the anticipated approval of this development by these commissioners.

I still strongly support the current Bibb County P&Z concept, their having a talented /dedicated staff and executive director. I do, however, have suggestions for improvement, starting with an adequate voice amplification system. The current system(s) apparently meet the needs of commissioners but is practically worthless for the audience and the media.

Those of us in the audience have a right to hear what is being said, especially since we took the effort to come to the meeting. My other critical suggestion relates to the 10 minute time limit for each side on an item before P&Z . Equal time for each side, though fairness claimed is totally false and misleading. Acceptable for a simple item, totally unfair and unacceptable on a complex item.

I am surprised that this issue has not been raised in court challenges to a contentious commission decision.

I have a suggestion they may not have tried, but should try again for the fairness that all deserve. Larry Fennelly’s Special to the Telegraph stated “fix the neighborhoods and you’ll fix failing schools. Mayor Reichert has stated that one of the keys to successfully fighting blight in the county will be with the coordinated help of existing neighborhoods.

Healthy, vibrant neighborhoods are the heart of any community. Protect them or suffer the consequences. (I have more, but good luck. I know my destination, just not the schedule.)

Arthur D. Brook,

Macon

No more lofts

During the past 24 years that I have lived in Macon I have seen a lot of progress made in many areas but then I have also seen a lot of stagnation, too.

Today I read there will be another 241 lofts built on Zebulon Road. I think our Planning & Zoning Department might want to consider a few facts before they once again put their signature to a contract which doesn’t benefit anyone but those selling the land and taking in rents from the properties.

Macon, according to Zillow, currently has 1,507 homes for sale, probably most of which are over 30 years old. They are scattered about in Macon-Bibb County and mostly empty as people have died or moved on or have gone bankrupt. We also have an abundance of empty lofts off Hall Road and at River Walk and of course downtown, too. So, why in the world would we put up more lofts if we cannot fill them.

We have derelict shops all along Riverside Drive as well as a part of our downtown area. Why are we not concentrating on getting these areas up and running again instead of building more rental apartments? Could it be the land has already been sold once and that new pastures bring more revenue to the person who owns the land who works with Macon-Bibb County on these developments?

May I suggest that our P&Z do better and the commissioners do better. Why not offer some of that $30 million investment to local builders who would be registered with the county to be part of an official refurbishment crew to go along and refurbish buildings we currently have? Derelict buildings which are usable could be brought back to life or knocked down.

People need to understand that just because you have lots of land doesn’t mean you squander it at the cost to taxpayers who eventually will have to support empty buildings.

Carol Frayne,

Macon

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