A new westside grocery store, shopping center and subdivision will be delayed after Athens-Clarke officials told developers the plans need changes.
Madison Retail LLC is seeking a rezoning to allow 94,000 square feet of retail space, including a Publix, 81 houses and eight apartments, on 38 acres off Jefferson Road just west of the Athens Perimeter.
Athens-Clarke planners raised dozens of concerns about the proposal, prompting the county planning commission Thursday night to tell developers to revise the plans.
A suburban-style big-box retailer, strip mall and subdivision aren't appropriate for the site, one of the last wooded properties in the area, planners said. The development should be redesigned so it's safer and more convenient for bicyclists and pedestrians, houses should be clustered to preserve green space and a pond on the property should be protected, they said.
About 100 neighborhood residents came to the Athens-Clarke Planning Commission meeting to oppose the development.
It will bring more noise and traffic to the area, they said.
The development also is unnecessary, they said, because the half-vacant Homewood Hills shopping center nearby could be redeveloped, and another developer plans to entice a grocery store to the Oak Grove development near the Clarke-Jackson county line.
The planning commission, an advisory group to the Athens-Clarke Commission, did not make a formal recommendation, but told the developers to revise the plans and resubmit them.
The plans can be resubmitted any time, but planning commissioners said they don't expect to review the project again until January or February.
The developers said in their rezoning application that they intend to start work on the Publix and retail space as soon as the rezoning and building permits are approved, but they'll wait to build the residential portion until the economy improves.
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