MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – It was standing room only in Macon City Hall's Council Chambers Monday night during the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Hundreds of residents near Zebulon Road met face-to-face with developers to try and stop a proposed retail center from setting up shop. While, the commission postponed the vote, opinions on both sides remain strong.
Blackwater Resources, a Birmingham-based development company, wants to build a 250,000 square foot shopping center on Zebulon Road near Sonny Carter Elementary and the Stone Edge subdivision. In order to break ground on the $30 million project, the land must be rezoned from residential to commercial. A move, developer John Abernathy said will boost the economy.
"A property of this acreage generally will have about 350 to 500 jobs," he said.
However, community members are concerned the large site will generate more traffic, crime and noise in the highly populated area.
"Crime has increased in our residential areas, whether it be people breaking into cars or breaking into homes, we've certainly seen an increase in that type of crime," said Glen Smith.
Smith and his wife have lived in the area for 15 years, and the couple isn't fond of the idea of having a million dollar retail center as a new neighbor. Throughout the chambers, other residents held up colorful signs opposing the development.
After two hours of hearing both sides on the street, the commission decided to defer Monday's vote until November 12.