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Planning commissioners deny Harlem neighborhood rezoning

Posted: January 4, 2013 - 9:29am  |  Updated: January 9, 2013 - 1:13am

An applicant who had already been denied zoning for a bus maintenance shop near Wrightsboro and Appling Harlem roads was rejected by the Columbia County Planning and Zoning board Thursday while seeking to rezone the property for a neighborhood.

Nearly 50 acres behind Pumpkin Center were up for a rezoning that would put about 30 single-family homes on 1.25 acre lots near the Harlem convenience store.

The land, currently zoned residential-agricultural, is surrounded by similarly zoned parcels with the nearest single-family residential development located more than 3.5 miles away.

Met with opposition from homeowners in the neighboring Lamkin Springs subdivision, property owner Howard Roberts said each lot would be individually graded and the homes, between 2,800 and 3,200 square feet, would exude curb appeal.

“We’re not trying to cram as many lots as we can on the property,” said Roberts, who developed Lamkin Springs. “We want people to live there.”

Lamkin Springs resident James Rivers said he believed the homes would be built too close together.

“We moved where we are to have a little bit of that elbow room,” said Rivers, who lives on a 4.5-acre lot.

Other residents were concerned with traffic congestion at the Pumpkin Center intersection, where a roundabout is planned by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Board members sided with neighbors when they decided the neighborhood would not fit in with surrounding rural properties.

“It’ll change the character of that whole area,” Chairwoman Jean Garniewicz said.

Roberts initially faced a setback in September after planning commissioners rejected a proposal to put a motor coach maintenance shop on the acreage. The request was later withdrawn.

Also at the first planning commission meeting in 2013:

• The panel approved a rezoning to allow for a two-phase expansion project at 312 McCormick Road in Martinez for Family Bible Church.

Pastor Bob Corbin said about 60 to 70 members currently meet in a building near the Martinez post office.

The first phase is expected to conclude in 18 months with the renovation of two existing buildings on the property and extra parking. The second phase, planned in the next 10 to 15 years, will include more parking and a new facility housing the sanctuary, classrooms and a fellowship room.

• New county planner Scott Haeberlin was introduced at the meeting.

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