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Residents oppose new rental housing development in Martinez

Posted: December 4, 2011 - 12:04am  |  Updated: December 4, 2011 - 12:21am
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Photo by Jenna Martin     Builders clear land for Magnolia Trace, a government subsidized development on Old Ferry Road in Martinez. Residents in surrounding neighborhoods are upset about the 50-home subdivison.  Jenna Martin
Jenna Martin
Photo by Jenna Martin Builders clear land for Magnolia Trace, a government subsidized development on Old Ferry Road in Martinez. Residents in surrounding neighborhoods are upset about the 50-home subdivison.

Twitter @JennaNMartin

Residents say they will be looking for more information about a planned affordable housing development when they visit Tuesday’s Columbia County Commission meeting.

The Magnolia Trace subdivision, off Old Ferry Road, is slated for 50 single-family rental homes subsidized through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

“I don’t want an ‘ah-ha’ moment,” said Jennifer McCray, an organizer of the neighborhood’s opposition who said she plans to supply her questions to commissioners in advance. “I want answers.”

Land already is being cleared for the neighborhood, which will consist of three- and four-bedroom homes from 1,350 to 1,600 square feet, said county Commissioner Trey Allen, based on information he received from the private developer, Affordable Equity Partners Inc.

Repeated phone messages left for Brian Kimes of Affordable Equity Partners were not immediately returned.

The development is expected to cost $9.6 million, with 2 percent of funding coming from housing tax credits, Allen said.

“They came here a year ago and asked the commission for their support on doing some affordable housing for Columbia County,” said Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson.

“By getting that resolution from the commission, they could then go to the DCA and ask for some assistance in the form of some sort of subsidy,” Johnson said.

Among the questions McCray said she wants answered is whether commissioners at the time they approved that resolution knew of the DCA’s involvement. The agency isn’t mentioned in the resolution, and its name surfaced only in a form letter signed by County Commission Chairman Ron Cross a month after the resolution passed.

McCray obtained a copy of that letter Wednesday, she said, and until then had been under the impression that commissioners didn’t know about the DCA’s involvement. Now she isn’t sure, she said.

McCray, whose home on Butterfield Court is near the site, said while she had known of the property’s high-density residential zoning, in place since 1979, she said she only found out about the subsidized development Nov. 22 after a neighbor passed along a flyer from the developer.

A site plan of the development was displayed on the flyer as were the words “low-income housing,” “tax credit” and “rental,” McCray said.

“They’re going to build these homes and they’re not even going to consider putting a ‘For Sale’ sign in the yard,” she said. “Instead they’re going to put low income, government subsidized families in those homes. This affects the entire school system that ... area is zoned for.”

McCray and others have made plans to speak at Tuesday’s commission meeting, which is at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Evans Government Center, 630 Ronald Reagan Drive, Evans.

The development, located at the west end of a 0.3 mile stretch of mostly undeveloped land on Old Ferry Road, is designed to create affordable housing for working professionals, he said.

Because the development is subsidized through the government, renters can’t make more than $40,000, she said.

If a renter qualifies for the housing program, they would pay $455 to $580 each month in rent, Johnson said.

For residents to qualify for a lease in the community, they must maintain a consistent employment history and credit report, Allen said. Applicants also will be subject to a criminal background check.

Allen, who said his office has received about 50 calls regarding Magnolia Trace, said he’s been accused of taking bribes and has also received threats by angry homeowners.

Protestors have also created a Facebook page in opposition of Magnolia Trace.

Petersburg Station resident Damon Cline said the proposal “is out of character with the neighborhood. ... If it were market-rate apartments, it would be different. It just doesn’t seem to me that this is the course that Columbia County wants to go.”

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Comments (7)


Working Professionals

Yep, working prrofessionals are going in their for sure. Drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps. Sound about right????

Sweet son

Westwood Club II

@blues550 you are right on the money with your comment! The BOE and parents of children attending schools affected by this boondoggle should be after Mr. Cross and the county planners for letting this happen and happen it will!!!!! Ms. McCray and others do not have a chance against the county government. Westwood Club ruined Bel Air Elementary with it's subsidized kids and families. The same will happen to whatever schools will receive the offspring of these so called $40,000 working professionals. $20,000 each for parents is not even a description of working professionals! But we all know that there will only be one adult in the house. Who knows where the donor will be. The housing will be built and the community neighbors and schools will suffer!!!!!!!!!!!!

Probably get pulled for what I have said but it makes me sick!!!


CC Commissioners messed up

They did not do their homework prior to approving this. The last time they screwed up... they just used $6 million of our tax money to buy the land. This time the residents living around this project will pay.... in decreased property values, difficulty in reselling, etc. So... what should they do? I guess they could buy the developer out with our tax payer money and build another park.


Springs Lales Trey

And Spring Lakes Trey, who failed to mention to both WRDW and Austin Rhodes he had a seat on the DCA, can't even get things right in his own little slice of heaven - bothcing the project there.


Offended single mother

How dare you all judge individuals that you all don't know anything about. You all to are only a paycheck from being in the same predicament as those individuals that are only making 20000 dollars a year. The children of these single moms like myself should be afforded the sameopportunity as the kids that live in that district. My children happen to be very intelligent and are more then qualified to attend school with the children of the " blue collard" community. I am a working mom with a college education and I don't mean tech school and I am offended that people have the nerve to stereotype. And for the record the kids in Columbia do commit crimes but they just have parents that make enough money to cover their mess up. Get over yourselves already!

Lamya Dalton

No wonder people are asking

No wonder people are asking for more details, this is going to be the place where they will build a new life, in their own home, they must know everything. Of course, they would pretty much like to have a house that looks just like the Lake Wylie waterfront homes but the scenery isn’t that great in this area and the fact that they don’t have a lake nearby makes it kinda plain and dull. Anyway, they will have to keep on asking questions, maybe they will get some answers.