A contentious rezoning in the Midland area moved a step closer to approval during Tuesday’s Columbus Council meeting.
Council is hearing a request from two local developers — Craig Greenhaw and Ed French — want to change the zoning along nearly nine acres along U.S. 80 at Psalmond Road. It is currently residential estate, and they are asking for it to be general commercial.
This rezoning battle started back in December when a 20-pump gas station was proposed for the property. After today’s meeting, developers agreed to no gas stations, and no restaurant on the corner piece of the property.
“What it needs to be is something other than residential estate,” said George Mize, a Columbus attorney representing the developers. “I think to insist that it remain as is really being unreasonable to this particular landowner.”
The landowner in question Second Baptist Church.
The church purchased the property years ago with the plan to move from near downtown to Midland. That never happened. Now the church is trying to sell the property.
But that sale is contingent on getting the land rezoned for general commercial use. The neighbors don’t like that.
“We were advocating for a neighborhood commercial, which is what the 2038 comprehensive Columbus plan calls for,” said Sonja Canterberry, who lives in nearby Hickory Grove subdivision. “They have just sort of skipped over that, saying that area is going general commercial and it’s compatible. We don’t feel it’s compatible with the needs we have in that residential area.”
The attorney for the developer says general commercial that would accommodate a broader range of commercial development fits the area.
“All of the uses up and down U.S. 80 are general commercial,” Mize said. “There is no reason to put in neighborhood commercial. There is no reason to single this development out and treat it any differently than the others up and down the road.”
There are also traffic concerns.
“You got an extremely busy highway,” said resident and adjacent property owner Alton Duncan. “Highway 80 here that has a lot of truck traffic going to the Savannah port and from the Savannah port. And you have got basically a residential road here at the crest of a hill. … And for the past five or six years, going through this intersection has been extremely dangerous.”