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Planning paves way for Family Dollar store

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany Dougherty Planning Commission paved the way Wednesday for the development of a Family Dollar store on 1.22 acres of land that runs along Dawson Road in West Albany.

Whispering Pines Holdings sought variances from the commission that would allow for a further setback than regulations currently allow (96 feet rather than 10), front yard parking in lieu of side and rear parking and elimination of sidewalks and street trees at the 2408 Dawson Road property.

Staff recommended, and the Planning Commission approved 6-0, allowing variances on the setback and parking requests but not for the sidewalk and street tree requirements.

"We need the setback for semi delivery," a representative of Whispering Pines Holdings told the commission. Planning Manager Mary Teter said the only access to the lot, which also abuts property on Whispering Pines Circle, is from Dawson Road.

The Planning Commission voted 6-1 to send a proposed text amendment to the Albany City Commission that will more clearly define event centers in the city. The City Commission had sent the request to the Planning Commission at the city's June 25 night business meeting.

Teter said staff looked at ordinances in Valdosta, Columbus, Macon, Rome and other comparable cities before coming up with a working definiition of event centers for the city. That definition reads:

"An event center is any privately-owned property, building or portion of a building, the primary purpose of which is to be rented, leased or used for parties, entertainment functions, conventions, conferences, seminars, assemblies or meetings. This definition shall not include those facilities, banquet halls, or meeting facilities which are a secondary (ancillary) use to a permitted use within a zoning district, e.g. banquet halls or meeting rooms in a hotel.

"Also, (an) indoor/outdoor special event facility, which is for a defined recreational use, e.g. golf course, bowling alley, skating rink, etc. is not considered an event center."

Teter said that Planning's proposed amendment would require protective screening when event center activities are located on lots that are either abutting or across an alley from property located in (R) residential, (C-R) community residential multiple-dwelling, (C-5) office, (C-6) transitional business or (C-7) mixed-use planned development districts.

"The city is trying to tighten up on event centers and wanted input from this board before voting on an ordinance," Teter said.

Also at Wednesday's special called meeting, the Planning Commission voted 6-0 to recommend approval of a rezoning request that will allow Conyers Concrete and Asphalt Services to create an outside storage yard on 3 acres of property adjacent to its 725 S. Westover Blvd. facility, and OK'd a variance request from Louie Lamb Sr. that will allow him to reduce the minimum lot size for an agricultural lot within the city limits from 40 acres to 10 so that Lamb may locate a trailer as a secondary residence on property at 231 Lockett Station Road.