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Columbia County Commission approves residential zoning; park improvements

Posted: November 6, 2012 - 8:54pm

Twitter @StevenUhles

The Columbia County Commission heard arguments for and against a rezoning proposal that, if things go the property owner’s way, will never net him a dime of profit.

The agenda item was for the rezoning of a parcel of land outside the entrance to the Knob Hill subdivision off William Few Parkway. The property owner, Robert Pollard, wanted the property rezoned from agricultural to residential use, with the intent of subdividing the lot, which is a little more than two acres, and sell them for development.

At issue was the concern that houses built on three lots would detract from and lower the property values of the large estate-style homes in the immediate area.

Carl Dowling, the acting president of the Knob Hill Property Owners Association said that while he understood that leaving the property as is was probably unfeasible, the property owners association would like to propose dividing the land into two lots instead of three and maintaining a buffer between the lots and the street and adjoining property. In return, he said, the Association would grant the owners of properties built there full use of Knob Hill amenities and membership in the Association. He said that should raise property values.

“Our concern is that whatever you put there is the first thing people will see when they drive into Knob Hill,” he said.

He said talks with Pollard and his representative Keith Lawrence were ongoing and he felt certain an agreement could be reached.

Lawrence, speaking on behalf of Pollard, said the main goal for the property was to maximize profitability. Pollard, he explained, plans to donate the proceeds from the sale of the land to the Westminster Schools.

In the end, the Commission decided that how the land was divided and what concessions were made had no bearing on the rezoning decision. The matter at hand was determining whether rezoning was responsible and appropriate. Commission Chairman Ron Cross said the number of similarly zoned plots in the immediate area made approval an obvious choice.

“This transition just seems appropriate,” he said.

Also approved at the meeting were two improvement projects at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion and Evans Towne Center Park. The first is the replacement of the wooden decking at the Pavilion with a composite material. Additional improvements will include bringing the railings up to current code. The project will cost $279,700 and be funded from interest from the Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) fund.

The second project is the construction of entry and exit gates at the Evans Towne Center Park.

“Ideally these gates would have been put in place when the park was built,” Cross said. “But for whatever reason they weren’t. What we know is that they are required for things like security and traffic control.”

The gates will cost $98,000 and be funded through SPLOST.

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