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Lula council denies rezoning request for baseball center
Residents, officials express concern over site's future
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Lula City Council unanimously voted down a proposed rezoning Monday night that would have allowed for a baseball training center in an otherwise agriculturally zoned area.

Nearby resident Nita Minor thanked the council for the vote, saying she feared future uses at the site beyond what was immediately planned.

“We didn’t want the permanence of that kind of zoning, because we thought that it would adversely affect our neighborhood,” she told the council.

“It’s like opening a door that later on, if that particular business left, we would have no assurances that the council would retain any kind of control over what would go in there.”

“You’re absolutely correct in that,” Mayor Milton Turner said.

“We agree with how you did that, so I appreciate it,” Minor said.

Drew Adams and David Saxon were seeking the change to a highway business designation from agriculture on 5 acres at 5765 Athens St., south of Pine Street.

Cornerstone Baseball Academy‘s property would have featured a 4,000-square-foot hitting facility, a lighted parking area, grassy throwing areas, a storage barn and an open area for running/fielding and other baseball activities.

Council members didn’t give reasons for the denial or otherwise discuss the matter. Their vote took place a couple of hours after a public hearing, where several people spoke in favor of the proposal and no one spoke in opposition.

Asked for his thoughts before the vote, City Manager Dennis Bergin said the rezoning would have conflicted with the area’s comprehensive land-use plan, which called for industrial uses on the property.

After the meeting, Garnett Smith, who made the motion to deny the proposal, echoed concerns that Minor spoke about during the meeting.

“Anything could have gone in down the road if he went out of business or sold to somebody else,” Smith said. “You had it open, then, for anything to come into that neighborhood.”

Councilman Mordecai Wilson said he was heeding City Attorney Robert “Lucky” Chandler’s concerns that approval wasn’t “a good idea.”

“I go along with our legal advice,” he said.