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The Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission voted 3-2 Tuesday to rezone more than 25 acres on Zebulon Road from residential to commercial.

More than 100 residents were at the meeting to protest the move which could pave the way for a 250,000 square foot shopping center near the Stone Edge subdivision east of Northway Church, across the street from Sonny Carter Elementary.

"I'm very disappointed. This is a miscarriage of justice," Charles Wolf, a longtime Stone Edge resident, said after the vote.

Birmingham, Alabama-based Blackwater Resources wanted the property rezoned to build the planned center.

Zan Thompson, a local land planner who opposed the rezoning, told commissioners a shopping center of that magnitude planned by Blackwater would negatively impact area residents. He said residents would suffer from noise and other issues.

"Excuse my French, but these neighbors? They're screwed," Thompson said.

A traffic study concluded that the proposed center would nearly double traffic on Zebulon Road.John Abernathy, a Blackwater Developer, disagreed. "Our company has been doing this for 30 years," he said adding that the proposed shopping center would add 500 jobs and up to $50 million in annual sales.

Commissioners Al Tillman, Kamal Azar and Bryan Scott voted for the rezoning and Sara Gerwig-Moore and Jeane Eason voted against.

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