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Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 9:04am

Development Wins At Emotionally Charged Macon Planning Meeting

Residents of the Zebulon Road area in north Bibb County are in shock after a controversial shopping center proposal moved one step closer to reality Tuesday, but opponents of the development are not out of options yet.

In a tense 3-to-2 vote, the Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Commission approved rezoning to accommodate the Alabama developer’s plans: 25 acres of strip retail next to the Zebulon Wal-Mart.

"I’m very concerned that Macon is becoming a throwaway property town," said Chris Teal, one of the dozens of nearby homeowners who attended the commission meeting in opposition of the development.

"We used to have good malls, good strip shopping centers and it’s like they’re vacant, and people are walking away from [them] but they’re building new ones, it doesn’t make sense to me," she said.

Planning & Zoning Chair Sarah Gerwig-Moore voted against the rezoning, but just because it ultimately passed does not necessarily mean the shopping center will be built, she said.

"We are voting only on the rezoning ... that gives this board ultimate control over what is designed and built on the property," she said. "That classification gives this board ultimate control. If they developer chooses not to develop as we approve, the land remains undeveloped."

Several commissioners have expressed concern over the developer’s specific plans, saying they are too dense to fit into a residential area.