Despite the objections of residential neighbors, Columbia County’s Planning Commission Thursday agreed to rezone a dormant Martinez office plaza for townhomes.
The 3.25 acre site on Furys Ferry Road at Old Ferry Road was developed in 2008 as an office park, laid out with parking lots, curbs and landscaping. No offices have been built on the site, and last year First Bank seized the land through foreclosure.
Commissioners unanimously agreed to allow Joe H. Todd, president of JHT Construction of Evans, to turn the site into 25 single-family brick townhomes, with minimum square footage of 1,400 square feet.
“The market has spoken pretty loudly that (offices) are not a good fit for this area,” Todd said. If county commissioners give final approval to the project, he said he expects construction to begin by the end of the summer.
About a dozen residents of the adjacent Oak Brook subdivision attended the meeting, and several spoke in opposition to the project – most asserting that the anticipated $120,000 per unit sale price of the townhomes would hurt the values of their homes, which they valued in the $160,000 range.
“I’m just using common sense,” said Oak Brook resident Scott Kirchhoff. “Common sense says if you put those behind these houses, with a $40,000 difference, it’s not going to make the value of our homes go up.”
Also Thursday, planning commissioners approved final plats for 25 lots in Magnolia Valley, off William Few Parkway, and 63 lots in Patriots Ridge Section 1, off Columbia Road. They also approved a preliminary plat for Bartram Trail Section 8, with 63 lots.