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Planners reject revisions to Crawford Creek neighborhood

Posted: November 16, 2012 - 12:29pm  |  Updated: November 21, 2012 - 3:30pm

 


Columbia County planners Thursday rejected a developer’s request to delay building additional amenities in one of the neighborhoods in the sprawling Crawford Creek subdivision.


The proposal would have allowed developer Dean Conn as much as three years to finish a package of amenities, including a pool and clubhouse, rather than complete the package no later than the point at which half the homes in the portion of the 382-acre neighborhood are sold.


Columbia County planning staff, during Thursday’s Planning and Zoning Board meeting, cited a county ordinance that requires the 50 percent threshold.


The rule is designed to prevent developers from promising amenities to homebuyers and then not delivering them, said Planning and Zoning Board member Thom Tuckey.


“It’s in the homeowners’ best interest,” he said. “When you reach that 50 percent point, you’ve got to have the amenities.


Commissioners created the ordinance after years of complaints about unfinished amenities at Ivy Falls.


Conn argued that the original package of amenities has been upgraded after discussions with homeowners and the county, negotiated as part of other revisions to the overall project. In addition, he said, a dispute over whether the developer will be forced to build a turning lane for the entrance on Hereford Farm Road could raise the project’s cost further.


“Every home we sell has a greater value if the amenities are in place,” Conn said, “but I want to submit a plan we can adhere to.”


Requiring more than $1 million in amenities for what now would be the sale of 109 lots “won’t bank that way,” Conn added.


The board’s recommendation to reject the request passed unanimously and goes to the county commission Dec. 4 for a final verdict.


In other action Thursday, the board:


• Approved rezoning a 19-acre parcel on Old Evans Road adjacent to the Islamic Society of Augusta. The change will create a second entrance for the new facility and allow four cottages for staff members.


• Approved rezoning 5.5 acres on Rose Street, adjacent to Lowe’s and behind Duffie Plaza on Bobby Jones Expressway in Martinez, for a self-storage facility.


• Approved a variance for landscaping the new Kia dealership that will be built on Washington Road at Gibbs Road. The change will shift where trees are planted to meet requirements of a Georgia Power easement crossing the site and move other trees to accommodate the planned widening of Washington Road.


• Approved a final plat for Durham at Canterbury Farms, a 12-acre tract off Chamblin Road that will have 28 single-family lots.

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Comments (12)

tvveedie

So then what the hay happened

So then what the hay happened to our pool and clubhouse in Shenandoah eh? Ring a bell? No? That's because it was conceived way back in the '70's when the lots were marketed this way. Since then, no pool, no clubhouse, heck even the subdivision sign was removed. Instead, we got a gas station, a defunct Food Lion, and about a square mile of apartment complexes.

I may be wrong but I bet my family and neighbors didn't meet some threshold for income, so they sold the lots and then banked the money that was for the amenities.

Barry Paschal

The ordinance

The county ordinance wasn't enacted until a couple of years ago. None of the current commissioners were in office in the 1970s, of course.

tvveedie

pick one

So fraud has been a SOP for developers well before it was legitimized by the commission is what you're saying?

IsAmericaFree

Really?

Have any of these people driven in the area of Old Evans & Old Petersburg Road between 5 and 7 lately? It's a nightmare over there! How about fixing the intersection and widening the road before rezoning land? Too many drivers don't understand that you do not block side streets when traffic is stopped as it is. It used to be such a nice area. Don't get me started on the widening. We've been told that for over 10 years. Now it takes a new tax to do it? What happened to the original funds?

soapy_725

Welcome to CC

And the voices of no mea culpa that support any and all development plans. It was before my time. It was grandfathered. This current commission was not in place at the time. Sounds like a case of "the dog ate my homework".

Plausible Deniability covers a multitude of sins. It can protect you from a lawsuit. If no one caused a death. Then there can be no prosecution.

A condition in which a subject can safely and believeably deny knowledge of any particular truth that may exist because the subject is deliberately made unaware of said truth so as to benefit or shield the subject from any responsibility associated through the knowledge of such truth.

soapy_725

You must concense

You must concense to the "mission of CC" if you are to live in peace. Urban Sprawl is the mission statement of CC. Urban Sprawl no matter who or what gets in the way.

Go to the CC website and look at the "maps" and parcels.

Contact the zoning board and find out what state laws they choose to ignore with regard to development of land.

Look at who owns CC and where?

Just as those who choose to continue to live in ARC must consense to live under a corrupt government that only desires to enrich itself.

Little Lamb

Thoughts

I salute the Planning & Zoning Board for denying his request. I hope the commission holds the developer's feet to the fire and insists on his completing the amenities. Still, I do not know how they can enforce the ordinance. If he's sitting at the 50% home completion at this point, how can they stop him from plowing on through and building more houses?

How do you like the arrogance of developer Dean Conn when he makes a statement like this?

Requiring more than $1 million in amenities for what now would be the sale of 109 lots “won’t bank that way,” Conn added.

Won't bank that way? Is that a threat? Is he planning to use the developer's standard practice of declaring bankruptcy, then starting up a new company in January and start clearing some other land in another part of the county as if nothing happened?

One thing is confusing to me. We learn from the story that entire development is 382 acres. Then we learn that there are 109 lots remaining to be sold, and surmise that this 109 is somewhere around the 50% mark. Is this an up-scale neighborhood where the lots are close to an acre each? Does anyone know how many lots are platted on this subdivision's plans? How much acreage is eaten up with the "amenities" and the roads?

Barry Paschal

Good question

Good question, Little Lamb. The 109 in this case applies to the specific section of Crawford Creek, which has several neighborhoods and hundreds of homes. I'll go in and word the story better in that regard.

Little Lamb

Thanks

Thanks for looking into it, Barry. I guessed that the lots are way smaller than 1 acre each; probably more like quarter to third-acre lots.

The story says the amenities need to be put in when the development reaches a 50% threshold of homes sold. Then the developer is quoted as saying he cannot afford to put in the amenities when he has only 109 lots remaining to be sold. Sometimes, the developer puts in the homes; sometimes the developer sells only the lots and the lot buyers contract to build their own home; and sometimes the original developer sells some lots to other homebuilders. It can get complicated in large subdivisions. A significant portion gets constructed early, but then it takes years for the straggler lots to get a home built on them.

Still, Columbia County's ordinance to have the amenities in when the 50% mark is built sounds good on the surface. I'm still trying to figure out how the sheriff can enforce it.

Riverman1

Super Point

LL, fantastic job of getting to the core of the matter. Of course, the developer is going to play games. There are well known office holders, former builders, in Columbia County who played that same changing economic conditions-bankruptcy game. It is refreshing to see you point out these improper tactics.

tvveedie

Nice racket no doubt

Nice racket no doubt

Little Lamb

Stop Work

I presume that the Development Services department of Columbia County government has the authority under this ordinance to issue a stop work order if they discover something at the site not in accordance with county ordinances. Perhaps that is how enforcement gets done. If the builders ignore the Stop Work postings, the sheriff can be called in.

Or perhaps the ordinance is weaker and provides only a civil remedy, e.g., for a group of homeowners to file a civil suit in superior court. Fat chance of that happening.

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