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Lawsuit Planned Challenging Zebulon Road Rezoning Decision

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Updated: Fri, 15 Nov 2013 11:40:09 EST

People living near the site of a proposed retail shopping center on Zebulon Road in Bibb County say a lawsuit challenging the decision to rezone the property will be submitted before a December 12th deadline.

When neighbor Glenn Smith first heard about the proposal to rezone 25 acres of residential area across the street from his Zebulon Road home, he immediately set out to let others know about the $30 million shopping center planned for the area. 

"No one out here really wants this kind of development," Smith said.

Even with overwhelming opposition from neighbors against the proposal, the county's planning and zoning commission voted 3-2 to rezone the property, with the only caveat being a new site plan must be submitted by the developer.

Macon-Bibb Commission Member-Elect Al Tillman voted in favor to rezone, saying he made the decision as an appointed member of the P & Z Commission, not as an elected official.

"If it makes sense to me, I'm going to be for progress, and that's the only thing, it's nothing personal," said Tillman, who also noted that he feels more people support the proposed development than oppose it.

While Tillman and Smith disagree on the potential impact the proposal could have on the area, including more noise, traffic, light, and crime, they both agree the site proposal submitted by the developer is too big.    

"It's a very tall order the commissioners were clearly not pleased with this site plan," Smith said.

"It was too huge, it was too big, and I didn't agree with it, but because I don't personally agree with the size of the project, it doesn't mean that eventually there's not going to be progress," Tillman said.

While developers still must be approved by the P & Z Commission before any work is done, Smith says a lawsuit will hopefully halt the project for good.

"We believe that the commission made a bad decision, and that when a Bibb County Superior Court Judge reviews that decision, that they will reverse it," Smith said.

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