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Public can sound off on Walmart tonight

By Sherri Ellington Tonight’s Barnesville city council meeting will start at 5 p.m. to allow for a hearing to rezone the city’s property at 120 Roberta Drive from agricultural to highway commercial. The parcel went before the Barnesville- Lamar County planning and zoning commission on Monday with the public allowed to speak at both hearings. For updates, monitor The planning commission approved the change unanimously but with reservations echoed by several people. Members also made sure to note that there is no mention of Wal-Mart in the rezoning application. Developer Chris Harper of Southeastern Properties, says ‘we’re on hold’ with WalMart negotiations. ’That’s just a rumor,’ said member L.D. Park. ‘It would limit access to the schools and there are traffic issues with football games. I can’t tell you how serious I think this is. I can’t over-stress to the city to look down the road for the benefit of the people, not the tax benefit.’ Wanda Brothers noted Roberta Drive should be ‘reserved for getting to school. There are already problems with traffic. I thought the bypass was made for industry.’ There were also concerns about wetlands surrounding the property, including the walking trail; proximity to the jail; the impact on downtown; and whether the developer or taxpayers would pay to widen the road. ’I’ve not really studied the state or local protections for watersheds,’ said member Angela Preston. ‘Would they be properly protected?’ Zoning administrator Dan Gunter said the property is not in a floodplain and all of Lamar County is in a watershed, not a wetlands. Member L.D. Park, who made the motion to approve, noted there is a creek to the back of the property, ‘and water runs downhill. We’re making David Rose accountable for taking in our concerns.’ According to Barnesville zoning administrator David Rose, the rezoning is necessary before the developer can do a study on wetlands protection, traffic and other issues, including widening and repaving Roberta Drive. ’I’d much rather see an entrance on Veterans Parkway,’ said chairman Danny English. Council is expected to vote on the change tonight. Also on the regular agenda tonight is a noise complaint against Piedmont Green Power by Mike Lenhart, the second reading of the speed limits renewal, awarding a contract for the Legacy Industrial Park sign, rezoning of Northside Village, reappointment of Park to the planning commission, restrictions on downtown parking and a resolution to buy property from Norfolk Southern/Central of Georgia Railroad Company.

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