Residents of Woodbridge subdivision packed the Tuesday night meeting of the Columbia County Commission to oppose a proposed rezoning that would add 28 homes to a new development with access through Woodbridge Drive.
Woodbridge resident Horstas Uzpurvis submitted an application for rezoning in October for just over 10 acres owned by his company, Petersburg Properties Inc., which abuts two of his other properties on Woodbridge Drive.
Uzpurvis planned to build a road through one of his lots and sought to alter the land’s R-1 designation to the higher density R-2, which would allow him to develop lots of an average 13,300 square feet – less than a third of an acre.
The proposal was met with disapproval by many of his neighbors, who filled every available seat in the county auditorium. The county Planning Commission heard the rezoning request on Dec. 19 and recommended approval with two conditions: that access should be granted through Cummings Road, not Woodbridge Drive and that a new traffic signal be installed at the intersection of Cummings and Washington roads.
Bill Trotter, the attorney representing Uzpurvis, told commissioners the Cummings Road access was inadequate for school buses and emergency vehicles and potentially harms the development. He also dismissed the idea that access through Woodbridge Drive would create traffic problems.
“Traffic, again, is just not an issue,” Trotter said, explaining that the development would add only about 200 additional trips each day to Woodbridge Drive.
Trotter, who is also a Woodbridge resident, said the high-density development would also create a buffer between current Woodbridge homeowners and commercial development along Washington Road.
“My home is currently on the market for sale,” he said. “If I believed this would negatively affect the value of my home, I would be opposing it, not endorsing it.”
Attorney Wright McLeod, who represents the homeowner’s association, countered that the majority of Woodbridge residents were opposed to the development and asked those in attendance for a show of hands to demonstrate.
“The only people we see who are in favor of this are Mr. Trotter and the petitioners,” McLeod said, after dozens of hands went in the air.
McLeod also said that whatever the commission might decide, the Woodbridge neighborhood covenants allow lots to be subdivided only by the approval of the homeowners’ board. He said Uzpurvis has not been able to get approval to divide his lots.
In the end, commissioners accepted the planning commission’s recommendations and approved the rezoning, but not the access through Woodbridge Drive.