Open Letter to Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning

Dear P&Z,

We would like to make one last plea to you before voting on the Zebulon Lofts proposal.

Stone Edge and Ashford Park subdivisions are an integral part of the Zebulon Rd corridor. Many of us have been here since the early 1980s and have contributed to the success of Kroger, Walmart, Lowes and the many eateries and banks. Zebulon Rd, Bass Rd and Forsyth Rd are home to many middle class neighborhoods and families.

Voting “yes” to allow this development could very well start a cascade that will change the complexion and composition of this area. The Comprehensive Land Development Resolution was developed to guide the direction of growth or change for any community in Macon-Bibb County. Macon is not growing and is losing 700+ citizens a year. The stable parts of this city-county are the neighborhoods. We have many restaurants and room for more on vacant land already zoned for this purpose. Placing a development with 4 huge unsightly apartments and commercial outparcels could possibly and probably ruin Stone Edge. Then what? Going forward this sets a very bad precedent for the Zebulon Rd corridor. Other single family homes and neighborhoods in this area would now be in jeopardy. A vote yes to allow this change would empower other developers (or the same) to build just for the sake of building.

The Comprehensive Land Development Resolution was put in place to guide the direction of growth in any particular community. As stated before Macon’s backbone right now are the well maintained, stabilizing neighborhoods. Lose those and you lose. Macon loses. Endanger one and you endanger others and thwart the growth of others.

This decision is not about ‘one off’ a single exception. This would have a ripple effect and you must know this. Bass/Foster Rd will be expanded one day. What proposals will you approve then? More apartments? More commercial endeavors? We barely have enough people for the ones we have now.

The 25 acres on Zebulon Rd is valuable but not in the way SPP/Sierra envision. Their proposal will reduce the value of our neighborhood. Neighbors will leave, their homes will sell for less or sit vacant. Our value is in our consistency. Put a huge development next to us and who wants to live here? This is how blight starts. What will be put in our place?

What we are saying is you have the opportunity to preserve the nature of this area now. You have a duty to exercise your wisdom and see that this will not end well for the Zebulon Rd corridor.

Remember, Macon’s population is declining. There are very few reasons for people to stay or come. Restaurants do not provide well paying jobs. Where is the need for more apartments? This is not The Field of Dreams: “Build it and they will come”. No, they won’t and they aren’t. There is very little here at this time to attract new people. You need to hold on to the people you have and promote the health of the neighborhoods that are left. If there is a need for apartments in the future they can be built further down the road.

Thank you again for your consideration.

Diane Gambrell

Editor’s Note:  Sierra Development Group seems to be either fully run or at least well-connected to New Town Macon. Anyone in Bibb County knows that what New Macon wants it usually tends to get. James Daws is the owner of Sierra so we will be looking into his connections to any local Government and influential non-governmental private entities that always seem to be able to get the local P&Z to vote their way even at the expense of our few remaining stable neighborhoods. We are already aware that James Daws sits on the Board of Directors for New Town Macon which we believe has incredible power and influence over P&Z votes. 

Something smells very fishy about this deal and the insistence to build apartments in an area where the current home owners are overwhelmingly opposed. Our P&Z seems to lack any concept of sustainable long-term growth and only seems intent on short-term urban sprawl which creates more blight. 

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  1. Janet G. November 7, 2015 Reply

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