VALDOSTA - City Council voted 5-1 Thursday to approve a rezoning request for a 91-lot subdivision off Mount Zion Church Road.

Lloyd Johnson requested to rezone and annex 44 acres from Single-Family Residential (R-15) in the county to Single-Family Residential (R-10) in the city.

The request drew ire from neighbors in surrounding subdivisions who worried about drainage, traffic and the smaller lot sizes allowed by R-10 zoning. Two other subdivisions in the area, Academy Acres and Farmbrook, are in the county and have R-15 zoning. The majority of the homes sit on half-acre lots.

Bill Langdale, the attorney representing Johnson, told Council that any drainage issues would be dealt with in the subdivision's design and would be cleared through the city's engineering department.

Some residents worried that with only one entrance, the subdivision would create traffic problems on Mount Zion Church Road, which struggles at times with additional cars bound for Dewar Elementary School. Langdale told Council that several larger subdivisions were located on roads with higher traffic counts throughout the city. He cited Stone Creek, a 421-lot subdivision with only one entrance off Coleman Road, as one example. Mount Zion Church Road only carries 1,000 cars per day, Langdale said, and most vehicles for the new subdivision will turn right toward the city rather than left toward the school.

Council conditioned approval on a maximum of 91 lots and required the homes be at least 1,700 square feet. Without the conditions, R-10 zoning would have allowed more lots and smaller houses.

Councilman Willie Head cast the dissenting vote. An earlier motion to table the request for one month, also made by Head, died for lack of a second.

Staff planners with the South Georgia Regional Development Center recommended approval for the annexation request, but stated the zoning should remain R-15 to be compatible with the surrounding area.

The Greater Lowndes Planning Commission recommended tabling the request to give Johnson time to address some of the concerns raised by neighbors. Council usually follows the Commission's procedural recommendations, but Johnson requested the case be heard.

To contact reporter Bill Roberts, please call 244-3400, ext, 245.

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