Current weather

  • Clear sky
  • 93°
    Clear sky
  • Comment

Official believes Magnolia Trace a positive for county

Posted: December 2, 2011 - 7:05pm

Twitter @DonnieFetter

Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said he is surprised by the backlash of negative comments he and other commissioners have received regarding a new Martinez development.
That development, Magnolia Trace, on Old Ferry Road will feature 50 single-family homes built on 15 acres. The houses are designed for low- to middle-income families, with many likely to receive rent vouchers from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
“We thought it would be an asset to the neighborhood, which is one of the older neighborhoods in Columbia County,” Cross said.
Though commissioners knew the project would consist subsidized housing, they still passed in June 2010 a resolution supporting the development.
“We thought it was good for the county, because we don’t have anything like that and it was not apartments and it was not Section 8.”
The backlash, Cross said, likely is due to public misinformation and the perception Magnolia Trace is a low-rent housing project.
“These are very nice single-family residences, which are three or four bedrooms, 50 units, with a clubhouse and greenspace,” he said. “It’s very well lit, it’s landscaped, and it will be maintained by the developer.”
The belief that the Magnolia Trace development will spark an increase in crime is without merit, Cross said.
Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle seemed less certain.
“We’re very curious about it and we’re guardedly optimistic, I guess you could say,” Whittle said Friday.
Though Magnolia Trace will consist of rental units, like crime-attracting apartment complexes, Whittle believes that comparison is unfair.
“There are a lot of rental houses in Columbia County that are not a problem,” he said. “But there are some that are. It just depends on the renter.”
Whittle said he feels more secure about the development knowing that potential renters must first pass criminal background, credit and employment history checks to live there.
Cross mentioned that the maximum annual household income for potential renters is $40,000, which he said would qualify more than half of Columbia County’s residents.
“I don’t know how this will affect Columbia County, but I assure you we’ll keep a watchful eye,” Whittle said.
Prejudices that Magnolia Trace will reduce surrounding property values also are unfounded, Cross said.
“The truth of the matter is that the cost of these residences is about $190,000 apiece,” he said. “That’s greater than the average cost of the houses in those (surrounding) neighborhoods.”
After 15 years, Cross said, Magnolia Trace developer Affordable Equity Partners Inc. then will be allowed by the DCA to sell the homes.
Despite Cross’ defense, many residents surrounding Magnolia Trace intend to protest the development to commissioners when they meet Tuesday.
However, it will avail them nothing.
Even if commissioners could be persuaded to stop the development, Cross said, they are powerless to do so.
“We can’t stop the project since credits already have been issued and the developer has incurred expenses,” he said. “According to DCA, it possibly would have been approved anyway, without our letter of recommendation.”

  • Comment

Comments (21)

blues550

Leadership Is Lacking

"Would 'possibly' have been approved anyway". Here's my suggestion to keep Magnolia Trace the Fantasyland development Cross and Spring Lakes Trey envison. Lead by example boys,sell you homes and move next to dreamland. . Allen was replused by a few lights at a neighborhood school, guest not, he should be absiolutely throwing up over this one.

Tuesday night will be most interesting...as will coming political races for the Magnolia Duo.

Craig Spinks

Magnolia Trace

Value Clay's judgment over that of the politicos, of the project's agitated* neighbors, and of those who were agitating the area's residents.

* (A)gitated was a purposeful choice.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

JR Sr

Mr. Cross

Since you think that your mighty mind is the same for all of Columbia County voters, I expect your name to be rembered at election time for big NO vote

JR Allen, Sr

dickworth1

Magnolia Trace

The flaw in your proposal that criminal background checks will be required, does this include everyone residing in the
residence or just the person that signs the lease? The other
question is, What happens if their income drops below $40,000? What happens if they lose their employment and
the state says you can't evict them? I guess my point is you
have no control over circumstances that change daily in this
economic turndown we are experiencing at this time. This will
be just like anything else the government puts their hands on,
pure hogwash!!! Who will be held responsible if a tenant eludes the criminal check and then commits criminal offenses? If the tenants are convicted of a crime will they be
evicted? For those in the neighborhood that are being affected by this proposal, these are some of the questions that need to be answered and who shall be held accountable
when the requirements are either not met or the tenant no longer meets those said requirements.

augusta citizen

Background checks

dickworth1 said, "The flaw in your proposal that criminal background checks will be required, does this include everyone residing in the residence or just the person that signs the lease?"

And I think we all know the answer to that. If they think they can control this, they are wrong. I think the most telling part is when Mr. Cross admits they are now powerless to stop this, so at this point all they can do is try and convince everyone that it will be okay. They made an error that they can't correct, so only thing left to do is put lipstick on that pig.

blues550

The Arrogant Mr. Cross

Good for Columbia County???? Tell you what braniac, I'm not the person proclaiming subsidized housing is good for Columbia County and I can guarantee you 90% of this county agrees with this mighty mind thinking you have made a huge mistake here. Rather than try to stumble all over yourself defending this you'd be better served by just admitting this was a bad idea that got past you. And you might want to talk with our Sheriff about trhe merits of this project.

Craig Spinks

Land of the free, home of the brave?

Let's see if those who are so free to run their mouths in opposition to this project are brave enough to aid the CCSO in confronting any criminals who might "stay" in it after its completion.

I doubt it as we have become "the land of the free-wheeling mouths, home of the wussies."

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

Riverman1

Encourage Elderly Friends to Apply

There are only 50 houses and the income level is less than $40,000 a year. Columbia County residents, espeically those who live close, should encourage their parents and other retired people to apply for these low rent houses. Retirement community residents could apply as a group.

Columbia County is a great place for retirees and they will make less of a demand on county services such as the Sheriff's Office. I wish the News Times would publish the links to the application process so we can help responsible, seniors apply for these houses. That's how to beat this thing.

Opportunity Exists

Need some answers…consider lawsuit

Why did the commission really vote to support this?
Who is making money off of this and who are they linked to?
Why was it approved in the first place?
In 15 yrs when the homes are for sale, who will be able to afford maintenance?

Whole deal needs more explanation to see if it really passes the ho ho check…which it might…but at this point it doesn’t!

Perhaps a lawsuit is in order to slow this down until the logic is clear and explained to us that pay taxes and vote.

Note: The article states: “Cross mentioned that the maximum annual household income for potential renters is $40,000, which he said would qualify more than half of Columbia County’s residents.”

Seems Cross knows how to stretch the facts…which is bothersome…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_County,_Georgia
The median income for a household in the county was $65,507, and the median income for a family was $72,891. Males had a median income of $45,577 versus $28,190 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,578. About 4.20% of families and 5.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.60% of those under age 18 and 8.10% of those age 65 or over.

Opportunity Exists

Riverman1

Why not Richmond County?

I still don't understand why the developer wasn't pointed east on Washington Rd toward Richmond County?

Discussionstarter

CC Commissioners have messed up bad

They did not do their homework prior to approving this. The last time they screwed up... they just used $6 million of our tax money to buy the land. This time the residents living around this project will pay.... in decreased property values, difficulty in reselling, etc. So... what should they do? I guess they could buy the developer out with our tax payer money and build another park.

justputtin

Remember this at election time!

The only way to be " surprised at the backlash" is either arrogance, naivety, being gullible, or worse. Take your pick. Does it feel like someone thinks he knows what's best for Columbia County despite what 95% of the residents do?

Bubba

King Ron

This is hardly the first time that something like this has happened and you sheep, despite what I see here on this page, just take it. The most memorable previous occurence was the million dollars to dredge West Lake's lake which was "Donated" to the county. Hey, thanks for giving that to the peasants in exchange for our million dollar dredging operation. Can I swim in West Lake? What? I can't? Can I row a boat in it? Nope? Dang, what did I get for my million? Squat. Ron said that was OK, there's a lot of places that it's just that way, or some similar twaddle. I voted against the initiative on the ballot but it was worded in an innocuous manner so I suspect few knew the particulars and it passed. I think it would be a great idea to give the Magnolia Ridge 40k and under lottery winners passes to swim in the county's lake. YAY!
I voted against every incumbent I could vote against the last few elections but now maybe people will be fired up and Something better will happen. Ugh.

raul

Magnolia Trace

Mr. Cross states the houses are valued at $ 190,000. A recent article in which Martinez was voted as one of the best places to live declared the median priced house in Martinez at $ 130,000. So, we are going to subsidize someone to live in a house valued higher than the average home in Martinez. What is wrong with this picture?

Cardinal

So the proposed residents of

So the proposed residents of Magnolia Trace can't have incomes of more than $40,000. What if they get raises? Will they be evicted?

whyme

So it is assumed that low

So it is assumed that low income families are uneducated and their children will ruin the schools of Columbia County? Really? Greenbrier isn't doing so hot and those kids supposedly come from "good" families. Of course no one wants to have unsavory characters living near them but I am so glad that no one made a judgment call against me as a single parent who was making right below 50K even as a health professional. I do own my own home, my child is an excellent student, and we don't have any riff-raff hanging around us. This is true even when we rented a townhome. There is a family renting across from me and they maintain their home better than many of our neighbors. So to assume that just because someone is 'low-income' means that trouble will follow is not always a good thing. What if you lost your job? Should you be considered trash? Hmm...maybe it's a race thing! What if all of these families are white? Will there be any complaints? How sad times are anymore.

createyourfuture

Magnolia Trace

It is interesting to see the posts from people who have little idea about the neighborhood being planned. Residential housing like this allows people with lower incomes to live in safer neighborhoods, and to build one of their own. The posters perpetuate the mid 20th Century politics that prevent the CSRA for moving forward. Many of you have political axes to grind and indicate this in your post.

I would much rather see a development of this type then of a run down trailer park, or run down public housing.

Work harder, so others won't have to.

Dixieman

NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard)

Any politician who votes for this insane proposal should be required by law to go live there!!

JustLilMe

Numbers don't add up

1) Two car garages=two adults? The garages are going to be almost as big as the living space. Of course their own cars will be safe. I hope the same will be able to be said for the existing neighborhoods in a few years. Garages are more rare there.
2) Income of 40K=is that per earner living there or total household income?
3) 3-4 bedrooms=potentially 2 kids per bedroom. That's a mess of kids in small homes on small lots.

Will people moving in with these families (boyfriends, girlfriends, etc) also have to qualify and be checked out? A lot of public housing down in RC have "other adults" living with those single parents. Sounds crowded to me!

JustLilMe

Numbers don't add up

1) Two car garages=two adults? The garages are going to be almost as big as the living space. Of course their own cars will be safe. I hope the same will be able to be said for the existing neighborhoods in a few years. Garages are more rare there.
2) Income of 40K=is that per earner living there or total household income?
3) 3-4 bedrooms=potentially 2 kids per bedroom. That's a mess of kids in small homes on small lots.

Will people moving in with these families (boyfriends, girlfriends, etc) also have to qualify and be checked out? A lot of public housing down in RC have "other adults" living with those single parents. Sounds crowded to me!

A Smith

Ron Cross owes Jennifer Crae an apology

Crae was calm, articulate, and respectful. Cross laughed at her during most of her speaking time. And in doing so, he laughed at all of us who share her concerns. Condescending is the best word that comes to mind.

I find it ironic that the county let us have our huge speedbumps to discourage traffic on our street which will now be the entrance to a development which will house an extra 50-100 cars.

Follow News-Times:

News-Times Video »

CONTACT US

  • Main: 706-868-1222
  • Fax: 706-823-6062
  • Email: cnt@newstimesonline.com
  • 4272 Washington Rd, Suite 3B, Evans, Ga. 30809

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES