Greedy local and well-connected developers seek to cash in on P&Z connections

James Daws of Sierra Development. The face of future Macon sprawl and blight,

James Daws of Sierra Development also sits on the New Town Macon Board of Directors. Is this the face of future Macon sprawl and blight? Will he get away with destroying the Zebulon communities thanks to his good ol’ boy connections on the P&Z?

BY JOHN LAUGHTER

On Nov. 22, 2013, Planning & Zoning Commissioners Al Tillman, Kamal Azar and Bryan Scott voted for rezoning on Zebulon Road. They tried to open the doors to bring into our good neighborhoods and nice surrounding communities (Ashford Park, Stone Edge, Lake Wildwood, Carlyle Place, Castlegate, Saddlebrook, Baptist Village) a massive shopping center with more traffic jams at peak hours, more road rage, crime, late night vagrants in the store trash dumpsters in our backyards, late night noise from delivery trucks, increased number of vehicles speeding through the Sonny Carter school zone, more auto and noise pollution from the loss of hundreds of trees between Zebulon Road and the Stone Edge subdivision.

An appeal in the Zebulon Road rezoning was filed in Bibb County Superior Court, which stated, in part: “Residents of Zebulon Road and Stone Edge Subdivision filed an appeal today in Bibb County Superior Court against the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission. The appeal seeks to reverse a decision made by the Planning & Zoning Commission at their Nov. 12 hearing to rezone approximately 25 acres on Zebulon Road for the purpose of allowing an Alabama-based developer to construct a 250,000-square-foot retail shopping complex. The appeal, filed by Macon attorney Bill Larsen, was filed on behalf of 27 property owners who live directly across Zebulon Road from the proposed development or who live in Stone Edge and back up directly to the planned complex.”

The appeal alleged that the commission acted inappropriately by not following its own regulations when considering the rezoning. Judge Ed Ennis ultimately ruled that P&Z was out of bounds regarding the proposal by Blackwater of Alabama. And now we are back at it again.

The Telegraph representative, Linda Morris interviewed a resident who lives on Zebulon Road and the story appeared in the Sept. 16 paper and indicated, in part: “As planned, the 241-unit, pedestrian-friendly development would include some units with garages and amenities such as an outdoor swimming pool, a nearly 3-acre park with walking trails, a fitness center, urban gardens and a Wi-Fi cafe, said Jim Daws, president of Sierra Development Group, who is developing the project with Travis Griffith, president of SPP Commercial Group.”

The Telegraph reporter also quoted the individual saying, in part; “Well, I along with all the rest of the residents in this area would love to see that property developed in a fashion that is compatible with the surrounding residential uses.”

Neither the person being interviewed, nor The Telegraph representative attended our meeting which was packed with residents from several neighborhoods. If they had been at the meeting they would have felt the residents’ blood boiling and some strong words being exchanged just as we did in 2013.

The proposed four-story lofts with stores and restaurants will be built across the street from Ashford Park and Sonny Carter in Stone Edge subdivision’s backyards. The builders are having a traffic study done to see if an additional street light can be placed at the entrance to the lofts.

Those who attended the meeting do not want lofts or malls or any commercial businesses built in their front or backyards. Don’t try to candy-coat the story.

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  1. Lola Nunn December 9, 2015 Reply
  2. Billy Hester December 9, 2015 Reply

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