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Oakwood OKs changes to allow for insurance business
Residents in area voiced concerns for plots future
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Oakwood City Council voted Monday night to pave the way for an insurance company to set up business in a residential area off McEver Road.

The council took the action to the displeasure of at least a couple of residents, who asked the council to reconsider the measure.

David Warnock of Warnock Agency Inc. initially asked the city to annex the 0.92-acre property at 4905 Florence St. and rezone the site to highway business from residential.

The request prompted protests from several area residents at the council's last meeting in June.

They expressed several concerns, including future development of the site if Warnock ever leaves.

Since that meeting, Warnock has agreed to a different zoning — office/professional, which eliminates such potential uses as fast-food restaurants and convenience stores.

The revised zoning "is a lot more compatible when it's adjoining residential (areas)," City Manager Stan Brown said.

Warnock also agreed to building a customer entrance off McEver Road and limiting access from Florence Street to employees only.

Monday night, council members further limited all access to the business from McEver Road.

Warnock, whose business is now based about four-tenths of a mile away at 4528 McEver Road, will have to receive the city's OK on a site plan before he relocates.

"Just looking at it in the field, he probably is going to need to do some vegetation removal ... to make sure we get good, adequate sight distance out there," Brown said.

The council approved the annexation request 3-1 on first reading, with Councilman Gary Anderson opposed and Councilwoman Martha Collins absent. Final approval will come at the August meeting.

The vote was the same on the rezoning request.

Jimmy Grant, an area resident, complained about traffic in the area.

"I hope you reconsider this, because somebody is going to get killed," he said. "And I'm serious."

Also, "this building is going to be part of a subdivision," Grant said. "(It's done) all the time, but we don't want it in our subdivision. ... We want no business in there. We don't need one in there."

In other business, the council voted to prepare for condemning property at Audubon Crest apartments, as needed, to allow for a sewer connection for the planned $13.5 million Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network headquarters off Oakwood Road.

Because "it is a state project, it's a pretty cumbersome process for them to do a condemnation off their site," Brown said, "so what we talked about early on is that they would pay their sewer capacity fees and we would facilitate the easement."

The city has discussed the matter with the apartment complex, "but I found out ... that they are in the process of changing management companies," Brown said.

"We are going to continue in good faith to pursue this, but go ahead and lay the framework (for a condemnation)" if talks fail, he added.

The new, 36,000-square-foot lab will replace a building that has been at the site for nearly 50 years. Construction is expected to begin in August.


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