Columbia County’s Planning Commission rejected two rezoning requests last week while acknowledging they don’t have the last word.
A proposal to revise the plans for a Hannah’s Crossing lot in Evans to allow a driveway from Southern Pines Drive, rather than inside Jones Creek, didn’t fly, nor did the rezoning to allow more apartments on a site on Old Evans Road.
County commissioners, however, will have the final say on both in their May 7 meeting.
Developer Danny Bourne wanted to shift the driveway for a building site to avoid crossing a creek, but Planning Commissioner Jim Cox motioned to reject the change because of traffic concerns.
When it appeared rejection was imminent, Bourne asked for a refund of his application fee for the rezoning, sparking a spirited discussion when he alleged that someone from the zoning office had told him to expect the request would be rubber-stamped.
“I was led to believe this would pass,” he said.
Commissioner Thom Tuckey reminded him that the planning board is only an advisory body, and that the Board of Commissioners makes the final decisions. The request failed 4-0 with Darryl James absent.
The Planning Commission’s advisory status also came up in the request to rezone land along Old Evans Road to allow an additional 50 apartments to be built on a site approved for 140 townhomes and 50 apartments. Planning commissioners last July rejected a previous apartment zoning for the site but were overturned by county commissioners.
Tuesday’s request for additional apartments also failed, with Cox abstaining because of a conflict.
“We denied the last apartment request, and we were overruled,” Tuckey told residents of the Halifax North neighborhood near the site, who protested the rezoning.