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Magnolia Trace prompts commission run

Posted: January 30, 2012 - 10:09am  |  Updated: January 30, 2012 - 10:12am
Martinez resident Damon Cline announced Monday that he intends to run for the Columbia County District 2 Commission seat.  File
Martinez resident Damon Cline announced Monday that he intends to run for the Columbia County District 2 Commission seat.

Twitter @DonnieFetter

Former Augusta Chronicle business editor Damon Cline today announced that he intends to run for the Columbia County District 2 Commission seat.

Cline, a resident of the Petersburg Station subdivision in Martinez, said in a press release he entered the race due to a “lack of transparency” and “weak oversight” regarding an unpopular housing project planned for Martinez.

“Columbia County needs a public watchdog,” he said. “The actions of some county leaders indicate they have become out of touch with the wants and needs of the everyday people they are supposed to serve.”

Like Cline, hundreds of residents surrounding an “affordable housing” project called Magnolia Trace on Old Ferry Road were angered that commissioners, including Cline’s opponent, endorsed the project with a June 2010 resolution.

In his first bid for public office, Cline will face incumbent District 2 Commissioner Trey Allen.

Cline worked as a journalist for 15 years. He is a past president and current board member of the Augusta West Rotary Club and serves on the board of directors for Junior Achievement of the CSRA.

Earlier this month, Butch Holley announced his candidacy for the District 3 commission seat held by Charles Allen.

Districts 2 and 3 are the only commission seats up for election this year. Qualifying for those seats will be held May 23-25. The primary will be July 31 and the general election will be held on Nov. 6.

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Comments (18)

Little Lamb


Best wishes, Mr. Cline.



Pretty good issue to springboard his candidacy. I'd be strongly tempted to out the ones who seem to be out of touch indeed. I'm curious whether the rest of the district is in consensus with those adjacent to the tract being developed. I know most of Petersburg Station is, but expanding to the entire district who knows? I'm about 2-3 neighborhoods over and for the record, had I been asked prior, I would have responded unfavorably to the development in it's current form....resoundingly.



Once I hear your entire platform, you will probably have my vote. The current commission has gone rogue and decided to do what they want instead of what the people they work for want.

Just My Opinion

Viable candidate?

Hmmmm, sounds like we may have us a viable candidate in Damon Cline. Someone who will actually look out for the people and not for self-interests? Like the other poster, I'll be interested in hearing more of what he's got to say. The one thing Mr. Cline will discover is that either Trey Allen has an opinionated radio talk show host in his back pocket, or the host has Trey Allen in HIS back pocket! Either way, Mr. Allen will undoubtedly be getting some free publicity, so maybe Mr. Cline needs to get his newspaper pals to give him some free ink? I really think that even if Allen does get re-elected, he'll have learned from his mistakes. The only problem is that this might have been too large of a mistake. Mr. Cline, thanks for throwing your hat in the ring!


New Commisioners coming soon

Please, get out and vote when the opportunity arrives!

Austin Rhodes

Just My Opinion

Damon is a great addition to the election slate...and I believe he is a fine candidate. And no, that is not Trey Allen in my pocket...I am just happy to be here.


The Sweep Begins

Over the years a detrimental network of friends and relatives has come about in Columbia County government that has led to excesses and overlooking improper conduct dirtying up the place. Bill Morris taking Scott Dean’s old Commission seat was the first sweep of the broom. This will be the second.


"The actions of some county

"The actions of some county leaders indicate they have become out of touch with the wants and needs of the everyday people they are supposed to serve"

Yep, affordable housing is only for the West Lakers of Columbia County.

Laughable, the County Commission didn't approve anything. Mr Cline, if this was under your tenure it would still be built, the Commission didn't have the power to stop or allow it.

A - The site was ALREADY zoned for this use. Zoning is what controls the use, period.
B - The Commission didn't APPROVE anything.
C - The Commission made a RESOLUTION to support affordable housing (hint: look up RESOLUTION). While the developer probably sought the resolution, the TC funding would have likely gone thru without it. These are normally a checklist item. The only thing preventing the use was A (above). A RESOLUTION is a non binding agreement folks. Saying they support affordable housing is like them saying they support free speech.
D - Everyone is entitled to affordable housing. Read up on the FFHA of 1988 regarding the Supreme Courts rulings on local government providing (allowing) fair share of affordable housing.

I hope this helps clear up some of the misconceptions involved in this project. And no, I am not a developer or connected to the Govt in any way.......except that they have attached themselves to my wallet.

Maybe the AC should do a story on this since it seems to have a lot of folks confused. They didn't build a Wal Mart in the folks backyard, they are building residential homes.


The voice doth protest too much methinks

This isn't the first time I've read the my.voice comment. Almost template-like even. And after reading twice, I still can't find relevance. Everybody knows that the attorney who closed the deal has already been paid further to examine whether his work was done proper and legal. No conflicts there eh? I think what the quintessential point of the disapproval is begins with folks in that area having their taxes pay for their neighbors' houses, which will be newer, and from what I've heard, nicer. So indeed the action in the form of, how do you say "resolution to support", indicates a discrepancy between commissioner and constituent. Finally, I don't think anybody else here finds any of this "laughable" as the commenter put it.


West Lakers

The reference is out-dated as there are plenty of neighborhoods that are just as afluent as the Pebble Beach Drive area. Try and stay current as well as original, it should serve you better imho.



We have been successful in limiting the number of apartments that have been built in the county. The FFHA has taken some communities to court who try to limit apartment construction, but we've avoided such legal confrontations.

We have decided there will only be a few areas of the county where apartments will be allowed in the future. We do this because of strains on the infrastructure. There used to be more areas that could be zoned for apartments, but a few years ago we eliminated some of these. We. also, sometimes limit the number of units allowed.

The point is there are measures to prevent rentals from being constructed.

Calling these low income rentals, residential homes may be technically correct, but it's like calling the Martinez Put-Put golf thing with the plastic giraffe, the Augusta National.


Putt Putt

hey, lay off my home course >8(


Bill Morris

River man you are right. And Bill Morris is a fine man that needs his peers to follow The way he does things. He will do what he thinks is right, not what best suits him. If you think about it they should be one in the same.

Concerned in CC

You are wrong my voice

When the attorney for the developer, Doug Batchelor, led the developers to the Trey Allen and Ron Cross, they should have insisted he had a conflict of interest. They did not, and they still have not. This is not about providing affordable housing. That neighborhood is pretty affordable to those who worked hard and saved their pennies to live there. This is about lies and people getting paid off.

Go Mr. Kline, go!


You are wrong myvoice

Obviously a close friend or family member of those he defends. The rest of us see things for what they are. Events that are legal can still be immoral and unethical.


immoral and unethical

Exactly jp. "Resolving to approve" is the polar opposite of how the folks in that district felt about what's going on. Nobody is arguing that. Yes, the commissioners and Dev's and the attorney coordinated this in a manner that cannot be traced to something illegal so far, but the question of ethics depends on whether someone acted in the best interest. So either a rep failed in doing that accurately, for which the voters should decide how damaging that will be to their commission career OR they did not act in the voter's best interest by design, for which ethics violation would be more accurate. Whatever the case "Lucy got sum splainin to doo" . . .


Making decisions from emotion

Great, this is exactly what Columbia County needs, a community making decisions based on emotion instead of sound leadership. Everyone grab your pitch-forks and torches and head out on election day, the monsterous commission is out to end Columbia County. Since relocating to this area, I have seen Columbia County tranform into a fantastic place to raise children, go to work, head out to a park at the lake, and ride bikes. I worry little about my house being broken into, emergency responders taking too long, or my property taxes going too high. The roads are paved, toilets work when I flush them, and my water even tastes good straight from the tap.
Before we decide to vote out a working government entity that actually works, do your homework. I don't believe the commission had much elbow room with Magnolia Place.


Caveman, It's the Residents

Spelunkerman, as with the good schools, it is the residents who are responsible for the things you like and who create a safe place. It's the taxpayers who fund recreational projects.

It's disconcerting that you, and I assume others, including those in political office, don't understand if you change the make-up of the residents in a negative way, all those things you love suffer. The first indication will be in the schools.