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The Macon Newsroom

Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Macon-Bibb Planning & Zoning approves 4 projects in 7 minutes

All P&Z items were cleared by staff and moved to a consent agenda for bulk approval
Liz Fabian
An accessory building was approved for 2730 Vineville Ave. during the Feb. 5 meeting of the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission.

Lack of opposition for four applications before the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission made for a quick meeting Monday at Terminal Station.

“Seven minutes,” P&Z Executive Director Jeff Ruggieri chimed in after adjournment. “It took us longer to move the agenda around than it took for the meeting.”

With staff recommendations for approvals, the Commission shifted all items to a consent agenda and approved all four at the same time.

One woman signed up to oppose an application for design approval for a playhouse behind 169 Desoto Place, but she left the hearing room before being sworn in to speak. The playhouse was almost complete when the builder stopped construction and applied for the necessary design approval required in the historic district, according to the P&Z staff report.

The neighbor told staff she was concerned over the removal of trees along an alley buffer, but she failed to present comments for the record.

The Commission also granted approval for an accessory building at 2730 Vineville Ave.

Commissioners discussed the lack of a vegetative buffer along a proposed 6,300-square-foot trade shop office park at 4023 Elnora Drive. Five Star Painting plans to occupy one of the 2,100-square-foot offices and lease two others.

They approved the project when the satellite view of the neighboring house on Carrie Court showed plenty of trees on that residential parcel to shield the view of the offices.

The Commission also granted a variance for the homeowner for an addition to her house at 7640 Lower Thomaston Road.

Designer Sidney Haynes submitted plans for a two-story covered porch that were too close to the required setbacks on Lake Tobesofkee.

The application was deferred from last month to allow more study of the project. Because the county engineer and Macon-Bibb County health department did not object to the placement of the addition, commissioners moved the item to the consent agenda.

Although commissioners discussed each item in their administrative pre-meeting, there was no discussion or testimony during the regular hearing, which sped up the proceedings.

There is only one item on the agenda for Feb. 19, which had a submission deadline of Jan. 10.

Commissioners will take up the deferral of Society Garden’s application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to retroactively permit the expansion of the Ingleside Avenue that initially was heard Jan. 22.

P&Z discovered the business was operating beyond the bounds of its 2017 permit for up to 50 patrons, expanded its outdoor stage and built stadium seating without approval.

The Commission urged owners Brad and Meagan Evans to come up with solutions to noise complaints and traffic concerns from neighbors now that the beer garden advertises capacity for 500.

The lack of current applications ominously reminded Ruggieri of 2008 when he was working in Florida and applications abruptly dropped off before the housing recession began. P&Z applications are due about five weeks before a hearing.

He will be watching to see if the lack of new projects is a fluke or a bellwether for the current state of the economy considering the high cost of building materials since the pandemic. Application fees are an integral part of the department’s budget and could have financial implications going forward.

P&Z Commissioner Josh Rogers was reportedly out of town and absent from Monday’s hearing, which may have been his last.

Rogers’ term expired Dec. 31 and Mayor Lester Miller has nominated realtor Mindy Attaway to take his place. Her appointment must be confirmed by the Macon-Bibb County Commission and is on Tuesday evening’s agenda.

Civic Journalism Senior Fellow Liz Fabian covers Macon-Bibb County government entities and can be reached at [email protected] or 478-301-2976.

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