COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Residents in Columbus’ Historic District are concerned about health and fitness businesses, like a new CrossFit gym, opening up.
Citizens had the opportunity to exercise their right to voice concerns about the new business at the most recent Columbus City Council meeting.
“We hear them loud and clear," said Councilwoman Evelyn “Mimi” Woodson. "I can understand how they feel, but at the same time we are trying to make a community, a place where you work, live and play.”
The city’s Historic District currently has a Unified Development Ordinance, abbreviated as UDO, that dictates the businesses that can be built in the area.
Woodson, along with the rest of the council, must decide if a special exception should be made to zone for health and fitness facilities in the area.
“The fear of the residents, some of the residents, is that if you change the UDO, businesses will come in and locate next to their homes and areas like that when they have spent their livelihood or taking care of their property,” said Woodson.
CSG CrossFit owner Joanne Cogle says historic district residents have no reason to worry.
“I think that there is a little bit of miscommunication that says that we are basically opening Pandora’s box and allowing any fitness facility to tear down a building and build a new YMCA,” said Cogle.
Some of the residents’ concerns included bringing traffic too close to their homes and the already limited parking. The proposal would only allow those businesses in a 10,000 square foot facility that is established with off-street parking.
“Even with the proposal the Historic District is bringing will also be another safeguard for the community and again all this is is conversation,” said Woodson.
The proposal has been sent back to the planning committee and will be brought back before Columbus City Council.
Residents will have another chance to have their voices heard at a public hearing at the City Services Center on March 28 at 5:30 p.m.