Developers seeking a rezoning to build homes near River Island were met with resistance from neighbors at Thursday's Columbia County Planning Commission meeting.
The rezoning request called for about 40 acres on Point Comfort Road changing to a higher density that would allow 82 single-family residential lots.
The 40-acre property is sandwiched between the River Island and Carriage Hills developments.
Homeowners in both neighborhoods voiced concerns they had if the rezoning was approved. Their worries included increased density, aesthetic appeal, decrease in property values as well as traffic and safety on Point Comfort and Blackstone Camp roads.
David Quebedeaux, who lives in Carriage Hills directly behind the property in question, said he fears the proposed subdivision wouldn't fit in with the character of the area.
"I think this is a desperate plan," he said. "All they're looking at is how much money they're going to make."
Resident Kristin Waga-man summed up the concerns of many who spoke in opposition.
"It's not the right place for this type of community," said Wagaman, who lives across the street from the land.
Developers told the crowd that the subdivision would contain four acres of open space and sidewalks on both sides of the road.
They anticipate selling homes in the neighborhood for $225,000 to $300,000, which compares in price to surrounding properties, said Meybohm Realtors Executive Vice President Bill Boatman.
"We don't feel like this community that we're proposing in any way will have any adverse effect to ... property owners in the area," he said.
Boatman said current property owners already have an agreement to cut down and sell timber from the land.
After more than an hour, planning commissioners eventually came to the decision to approve the rezoning 4-0.
Chairwoman Jean Garniewicz said she understood the concerns and frustrations from residents, but voted to approve the rezoning.
"They have met all the criteria for the R-2 zoning," she said. "Growth happens and traffic happens."
Another item contested at the meeting was a revision request to a planned unit development across from the Gateway shopping center off Horizon South Parkway.
Residents of the Mill Branch neighborhood, which is part of the development, asked for clarification about what is planned on the site.
The revisions, applying only to 80 undeveloped acres of the 169-acre site, would increase commercial development allowed on the property from 26 to nearly 32 acres. Other changes include slightly reducing the acreage for apartments and removing townhomes from the plan.
Meybohm commercial realtor Bobby Meybohm assured those in the audience that they will strive to make the development "as upscale" as possible. A paved, lit walking trail and 60-foot buffer separating the neighborhood from other parts of the development are required.
The planning commission approved the request 4-0.
The zoning board also approved rezoning a quarter-acre lot at 3623 Phillips Drive so Augusta Christian Schools' could add more space to their elementary wing.
School officials plan to renovate an existing 878-square-foot building on the site to accommodate 15 pupils and two teachers.
In August 2008, elementary pupils moved back to the school's Baston Road facility after meeting at the Furys Ferry campus for three years.
Planning commissioners also approved increasing the residential density for 2.5 acres along Gibbs Road to match similar properties in the area.
A preliminary plat for 10 lots on about 3 acres off Avery Landing also was approved.