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'A very easy decision': Bibb zoning board revokes Rodeo Bar's business permit after security guard's death

Planning and Zoning Commission Executive Director Jeff Ruggieri says they only have a few days to appeal.

MACON, Ga. — Time is moving fast against a bar on Pio Nono Avenue, which now just has days to make a move to stay open.

Last week, after 46-year-old security guard Jermaine Stewart was shot and killed at the bar, Bibb Sheriff David Davis revoked the Rodeo's alcohol license.

Thursday, the planning and zoning commission made its own move, revoking the bar's business permit. It's a measure Executive Director Jeff Ruggieri says is pretty rare. He says in his time at the zoning board, he hasn't seen it used this way.

"It was a very easy decision," Ruggieri said; but it was a departure from the norm.

Thursday, the zoning board sent a letter to the owner of the Rodeo Bar and Grill. They revoked the bar's business permit, which means it must close. The permit is different from a business license, which comes from the county.

"Business licensing and zoning compliance, you need both of them to move forward. So, what we specifically address is the zoning issue of it and the use of the property itself and it being a bar," Ruggieri said. "They're operating in violation, and part of our enforcement in doing so, we have the option to revoke their permit."

Chris Garcia used to work at a restaurant nearby. He remembers eating his favorite carne asada tacos just around the corner, and hearing fights from the bar's parking lot.

"Be around there like an hour, 10, 10:30, you'd hear people yelling... fighting," he said.

Garcia says while it may be tough on the owners, closing the bar is a good move.

"I had a feeling it was going to happen one day. It's a bad area. It gets bad sometimes," Garcia said. "I mean, it's kind of sad, but it's for the best, you know?"

Ruggieri says taking permits away is usually reserved for other situations, like when there's a mistake on an application.

The Rodeo only has until Thursday to make an appeal. If they do file that paperwork, they'll make their case to the entire planning and zoning board.

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