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'Moving to Perry!': Perry considers rezoning in city's latest economic development plan

The City of Perry is considering rezoning parts of town in its latest economic development plan. Now, some people are speaking up about their concerns.

PERRY, Ga. — The city of Perry is considering rezoning parts of town in its latest economic development plan

One of the main concerns citizens brought up at the last public comments regarded the rezoning of a plot of land a few minutes from downtown. 

At the intersection of Main Street and Keith Road, an old pecan grove sits on the corner.

According to Perry's Community Development Director Bryan Wood, he's listened to concerns about traffic congestion, stormwater drainage and the general character of Perry when it comes to rezoning that corner. 

"What we need to make sure is that the development that we get maintains that small-town feel," Wood said.

Property records list the lot as an R2 zone, however, Wood says that's a mistake and it is actually an R1 zone. Now, the city wants to rezone it as R3. 

The main difference between the types of residential zones is the density and square footage allowed on the plot of land. 

An R1 development requires a 15,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size and a 90-foot-wide unit per lot. 

An R3 development allows a minimum of 9,000 sq-ft. per lot and a 70-foot-wide unit per lot.

"Over the entire parcel that they're planning to develop, I think that there's a 50 to 60 lot difference than what would be allowed in R1 versus R3," Wood said. 

Dan Arledge co-owns the bakery Simply Southern Sweets across from city hall with his wife, Debbie. He's lived in Perry since the 1970s. 

"It's greatly more populated than 25, 30 years ago," he remembers. 

He has mixed emotions about that.

As the owner of a small business in downtown, he's seen first-hand how much his city has grown on a daily basis for almost a decade. 

He says he loves Perry because he's "more of a small-town person." 

"I'd rather have that atmosphere than the hustle and bustle," he said. "Back when I was a kid, it was way more relaxed than what it's like now. There was more foot traffic versus vehicle traffic."

He says he loves how much variety Perry downtown provides for not just the people of Perry, but all surrounding Central Georgia areas, but he also wants others to have better access to enjoy it all. 

"The city's constantly wanting people to come to town, but they don't have the infrastructure in place to accommodate all the vehicles on any given weekend," he said. "It gets pretty crowded down here."

As a member of the chamber of commerce, Arledge said he's spoken with the mayor and city manager to directly address his concerns about a year ago.

He said he was told they had already added 25 new parking spaces after noticing the pinch for parking in the area by the time he reached out. 

"I'm going to continue to voice my concerns because more people are coming to downtown," he said. "It's the main draw for people in Macon, Warner Robins, Fort Valley. I also have lots of customers south." 

The main hope Arledge said he has for the future of Perry is an environmentally sustainable system. 

Until then, he's looking forward to seeing his town continue to grow.

"It's just another sign people love this area and they're moving," Arledge said. "Moving to Perry!"

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