Council votes to rezone lot next to hospital
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A prime lot on busy Fifth Street S.E. near Grady General Hospital that has been zoned for residential use may soon be rezoned to allow for restricted development.
Dr. B.M. Bailey has sought to have his property located at 1207 Fifth St. S.E., next door to the hospital, rezoned as far back as 1995. A residence on the property has been vacant for years. Dr. Bailey is seeking the rezoning from R-1A Single Family Residential District to C-1A Restricted Office-Institutional District to permit the property to be used as a physician’s office or medical office.
Speaking on behalf of Dr. Bailey Monday night was his daughter-in-law, Cecelia Bailey, who told the Cairo Planning Commission last month that Dr. Bailey’s intentions are to deed the property to her and her plan would be to sell the property.
According to Mrs. Bailey, medical professionals have shown interest in the property due to its close proximity to the hospital.
Betty Ragan, who resides at the intersection of Ben Hill Avenue S.E. and Buchannan Street S.E. and has since 1968, was the lone citizen to voice opposition to the rezoning. Ragan cited potential for additional traffic in her southeast Cairo neighborhood. According to Mrs. Ragan, Buchannan Street is a “race track day and night.” She also commented that she could not get other neighbors opposed to the change to come for “one reason or another.”
At the June 20 Planning Commission meeting, the meeting minutes refer to only one citizen who spoke out against the rezoning, Maxine Smiley, who resides at 1235 Fifth St. S.E.
Tim Gurley, a resident of Culpepper Drive S.E., appeared before the council Monday night and acknowledged Mrs. Ragan’s concerns about potential traffic, but said he did not think it would be any more than what is currently going to or from the hospital emergency room. Gurley also said an abandoned house is not what was needed in the neighborhood.
Both the members of the Cairo Planning Commission and planners with the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission recommended approval of the rezoning.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas offered a motion to approve the rezoning and said that whatever eventually located at that site would only be open during the workday. He said he did not foresee any major changes regarding traffic. “It’s time for that property to be improved…rather than an abandoned building,” he added.
Councilman Bobby Gwaltney, who represents southeast Cairo on the city council, offered a second and the motion passed unanimously, 3-0.
Neither Mayor Booker Gainor nor Councilman Demario Byrden were present at Monday night’s meeting, so Mayor Pro Tem Lannis Thornton presided. Councilmen Douglas, Gwaltney and Jerry Cox voted in favor of the rezoning.
Monday night’s vote served as the introduction of the ordinance to rezone the property and a final vote on the rezoning will occur at the council’s July 22 meeting at 6 p.m.