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Planning Commission sends Sherwood Christian request to county

Private school wants to add eight classrooms, media center/cafeteria

Albany-Dougherty Planning Commission Chairman William Geer, left, and board member Billy Merritt prepare for Thursday’s meeting at the Government Annex building. Planning and Development Services Administrative Assistant Gloria Thompson, seated, and Planning Manager Mary Teter were also present at the meeting. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

Albany-Dougherty Planning Commission Chairman William Geer, left, and board member Billy Merritt prepare for Thursday’s meeting at the Government Annex building. Planning and Development Services Administrative Assistant Gloria Thompson, seated, and Planning Manager Mary Teter were also present at the meeting. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

ALBANY — Pending final approval by the Dougherty County Commission, work will begin this summer on an addition to Sherwood Christian Academy’s upper campus that will locate the Sherwood Baptist Church-affiliated school’s K-12 programs at one central location.

The Albany-Dougherty Planning Commission on Thursday gave the special approval needed to build eight new classrooms and a media center/cafeteria at the Sherwood Christian upper campus, located at 1418 Old Pretoria Road.

Sherwood currently has a lower-grades campus on Stuart Avenue.

Mark Stalvey with SRJ Architects Inc., which served as applicant for the request, said there’s no current estimated time for the two campuses to be fully integrated.

“I don’t want to speculate as to a time that the lower campus will be located (on Old Pretoria),” Stalvey said. “With approval, work will begin this summer, but it may continue through next summer as well.”

The Planning Commission OK’d the special approval request, which is required in a C-8 District, by a 6-0 vote.

The board also sent a rezoning request by Charlotte and Jack Stone to the County Commission with a 6-0 vote. The Stones had asked that 2.113 acres of a larger 45-acre tract be rezoned from AG to R-MHS (Mobile Home Single-Family District) to allow for the placement of a single-family mobile home on the 1806 Hancock Road property.

Stone is the county’s longest-serving commissioner.

Board member Helen Young said she lives in that neighborhood and had personally polled some residents about the Stones’ request.

“I’ve talked with some of the neighbors, and we have no problems with the rezoning,” Young said.

The Planning Commission has the final decision on variance applications and unanimously approved a request by Pole Star Development that will not require the developer to build a 6-foot screening wall/fence for its planned development at 101 Logan Court. City zoning requires such a fence of grocery stores, and Pole Star is serving as applicant for the expected Walmart Family Market grocery store at 100 S. Westover Blvd.

Neither Pole Star officials nor civil engineer Kelly Wagner, who attended Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting, would confirm that the development is a new Walmart-planned grocery store, but three persons with business interests in the area have told The Albany Herald that that is the development planned for the Westover/Gillionville Commercial Subdivision.

Wagner, who works with the Duluth firm Duplantis Design Group, said construction would start as soon as plans for the project are approved.

“We’re addressing some questions about the plans at this time, but we hope to have those cleared up soon,” the civil engineer said. “Trust me, if we could, we’d start work today.”

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the Planning Commission accepted long-time member Stephen Kaplan’s resignation. Kaplan, who is dealing with health issues, said he regretfully offered his resignation so that city/county officials could “fill the position as expeditiously as possible.”