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Commissioners jump first Olive Garden hurdle

ALBANY -- The Albany City Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to rezone the piece of property that will be home to the much-anticipated Olive Garden restaurant, taking its first official action that will ultimately lead to the doors opening on the new business sometime next year.

Milan Patel, a principal of the company that owns the Inn at the Albany Mall, asked the Albany Dougherty Planning Commission and the Albany City Commission to rezone his property at 2701 Dawson road from mixed-use planned development to general, mixed-use business district to allow for the restaurant to build there.

The Planning Commission approved the rezoning request on the condition that the property never house an automotive sales, maintenance, repair or body shop; a convenience store or service station; nor a car wash or auto detail shop.

Last week, The Herald announced on its website that Darden Restaurants, Olive Garden's parent company, filed the site plan for the restaurant with the city's planning department.

The 7,000-square-foot restaurant will sit on the corner of Westover Boulevard and Dawson Road, adjacent to Chik-fil-A.

Patel told the commission that once the site is demolished and cleared, it will be turned over to Darden to begin construction.