ALBANY — Sometimes city business is all in the wording, Albany City Commissioners learned Tuesday.
Noting a quirk in city zoning, a quirk that Planning Director Paul Forgey said he’d never seen applied before, the board voted 6-0 to change the designation of the “retail center” at 2525 Dawson Road — the former Kmart complex — to a “shopping center” to allow for the development of a restaurant, two other retail outlets and an as-yet unspecified development on the northwest corner of the center’s parking lot.
Forgey explained that the planned division of the massive parking lot for redevelopment would leave the center with less than the required parking spaces for a “retail center,” but would provide sufficient spaces for a “shopping center,” according to city zoning language.
“It is vital that we make the necessary adjustments to encourage redevelopment in these large, vacant centers,” Forgey said. “We want developers to know that Albany is open for business, and we are here to assist them in the process.”
That action taken by the board was part of a busy first meeting of the new year, during which the commission:
— Approved a $966,713.24 contract with Area Wide Protective of North Canton, Ohio, to repair the 4,500 signs (of 14,400) in the city that were damaged by Hurricane Michael;
— Agreed to purchase 13 Ford Taurus sedans at a cost of $321,518 from Wade Ford of Smyrna;
— Approved an alcohol license for Lucky Break Grill & Billiard at 2207 E. Oglethorpe Blvd. and a transfer of license ownership for the Sunrise Store at 1608 W. Broad Ave.;
— Voted to maintain a legal relationship with the Rome-based Brinson, Askew, Berry, Seigler, Richardson and Davis law firm in a hotel/motel tax class action lawsuit;
— Accepted a sanitary sewer easement at Stonebridge Golf Course and a request to close an alley abutting property in the 800 block of East Broad Avenue and Wheeler Street.
The commission voted to table a request to rezone property at 401 and 405 Johnny W. Williams Road from R-3 and C-1 to C-2 sought by property owner S.K. Patel so that he could reconfigure construction of a planned liquor store to include an extended parking lot and a drive-thru.
Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell argued vehemently against the rezoning, and speaker Demetrious Young, who lives nearby, told the board, “This is not something that should be done; that is not an area that should have another liquor store.”
The commission, however, had voted previously to approve construction of the liquor store. Ward III Commissioner B.J. Fletcher suggested tabling the matter so that the board could “see what (Patel) plans to do with the property.”
Also at the meeting, Thomasville Police Department Chief Troy Rich, who heads the Georgia Chiefs Law Enforcement Association, presented a state certification award to Albany Police Chief Michael Persley.
“Of 650 law enforcement agencies in Georgia, only 128 have CLEA certification,” Rich said. “This is national recognition for your department, it means that you have an elite police force.”
Rich also presented an award to APD Accreditation Manager Sonya Johnson.