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Planning board gives okay for car dealership in Evans

Posted: April 19, 2012 - 8:31pm  |  Updated: April 23, 2012 - 12:41pm

Columbia County plan­ning commissioners on Thursday approved bringing a full-service car dealership to a busy street corner in Evans.

A request to rezone 4.5 acres at Washington and Gibbs roads from neighborhood commercial to general commercial was approved 4-0 by the commission. Board member Darryl James was absent.

Land owners proposed putting a showroom, sales facility and a service center on the property, which backs up to two neighborhoods.

On portions of the property that fall within a utility easement, they want to add a paved parking lot to display vehicles for sale.

“We feel that we created a good project that has minimal impact to the community,” said Billy Jackson of Evans. Jackson is the son of state Rep. Bill Jackson, R-Appling.

Jackson said both his and another family purchased the parcel more than 20 years ago, getting it then zoned to neighborhood commercial.

The dealership, whose name isn’t being disclosed, would close by 8 p.m. and use dim-night lighting to shield neighbors from excessive lights. Both a fence and tree buffers would be installed to further protect nearby residents.

It would generate an estimated $1.1 million in sales tax for the county and employ 20 to 25 people, Jackson said.

The current zoning would allow for a convenience store, causing more noise and traffic than a dealership would, Jackson said.

The item was tabled by planning commissioners at a March 1 meeting.

Jackson said he and others involved in the project have since met with the county and neighbors to address their concerns.

County Planning and Engineering Division Manager Nayna Mistry recommended denying the request as it would add more commercial development to the area.

According to the county’s growth management plan, only large-scale professional, office and institutional uses are recommended for that intersection.

“There’s only so many things that could be put here (due to the utility easement),” Chairwoman Jean Garniewicz said. “This is probably a good fit.”

No one spoke in opposition to the project, which has to go before the Board of Commissioners May 1 for final approval.

Another issue previously tabled by the board was resolved when planning commissioners granted a setback variation for a lake home planned on Postell Lane in Appling.

Also at the meeting, several text amendments were passed. An amendment regarding real estate signs was approved, increasing the size of signs from 4 to 16 square feet and setting regulations on sign locations and time limit.

Text amendments relating to the moratorium on high-density subdivisions were also approved to require that future rezoning applicants reserve 10 percent of land in a development for a “common area” and install a 15-foot undisturbed buffer between different zoning districts, for both residential and commercial.

The amendments must go before county commissioners for two readings before approval.

In other business, the commission approved variations to allow bay doors at a future Kendrick Paint and Body on Washington and Blanchard roads and a setback reduction for a lot in Brookwood Estates.

The following rezonings were also approved at the meeting: 227 S. Belair Road from single-family residential to professional; 4107 Colben Blvd. from light industrial to heavy commercial; and 325 Baston Road from single-family residential to professional.

The board also approved final plats for Frog Hollow in the Rivermont subdivision and Newcastle in Riverwood Plantation. Preliminary plats for Patriot’s Ridge in Ivy Falls, section eight of Ashbrooke, Durham in Canterbury Farms and The Hamptons at Baldwin Lakes also were approved.

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Comments (8)

raul

A car dealership. Yea, real

A car dealership. Yea, real classy. Why not buy the empty one by Kroger shopping center in Evans? I agree with Ms. Mistry. Why not follow the county growth management plan?

ripjones256

Car Dealership in Evans

What privacy agreement? We already know what brand it is. My only question is this a move, or are there going to be two of these? Wish it had been what it was originally going to be, based upon the sign that was erected years ago.

Riverman1

Leave the Lights Bright

Heck, they ought to tell them to leave the lights bright at night. That could be advantageous to the neighborhoods.

Just My Opinion

Used to live behind a car dealership..

Neighbors, get ready for the loudspeakers. When one of the salesman get a call or a customer at the desk, they are paged overhead and the sound reverberates for at least a mile. We moved from there quite a few years ago, but our kids still can remember the speakers! And we did have a horrible time with the water run-off from the parking lot. Hopefully the engineers have learned alot since then and they'll make due precautions. So, bottom line is there's going to be another car dealership AND another paint and body spot right down the street! Oh, and the real estate signs are getting enlarged?!? Boy, this place is getting to look more and more like Gordon Highway, isn't it? C'mon commissioners...I know you say nothing can be done about all this, but you need to do SOMETHING before it gets out of hand and becomes an eyesore.

my.voice

It would generate an

It would generate an estimated $1.1 million in sales tax for the county......

"All in favor".......HERE!

This is a terrible use next to residences. Why even have a GMP if the developers can just do what they wish?

Neighborhood commercial is a low key commercial zoning. A converneince store without GAS or BEER would be allowed. Lets be truthful!

mainegal

Las Vegas strip…..

Washington Road between Martinez and Evans already is an eyesore and is only going to look worse. A few comments from our out of town guests have mentioned that Washington Road looks like an Las Vegas strip! What is wrong with the planning commissioners? Yes, unfortunately it all comes down to $$$ and the power of the county commissioners. I totally agree with Ms. Mistry, the county does not need more commercial development; she is looking out for the residents of Columbia County! Looks like Evans is going to become known as "Auto Alley".

mainegal

Riverman1

Private Property in a Business Zone

Funny how everyone wants to tell property owners what they can do. But you can do away with lighted signs if you want to lose the Las Vegas similarity. The problem is everytime that measure comes up it's watered down and nothing effective is done.

CleonChase

Car dealership planning on

Car dealership planning on putting up a showroom near residential areas? OK that's not really the most "ingenious" idea. From the noise of boomboxes going out and blindingly bright PIAA 520's that will be running on during the showroom hours could spell a lot of discomfort for the people. I AM NOT IN FAVOR OF THIS.

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