In response to Barry Paschals recent comments regarding the rezoning request on Desoto Drive: The reasons for my vote to deny the proposal are as follows:
1. For the Martinez Fire Department to properly utilize the existing park on Desoto Drive, an additional parcel fronting Old Evans Road would have to be purchased, making the financial investment nearly equal to the Cash property behind Merchants Village Shopping Center on Columbia Road.
2. When the Planning Commission makes recommendations to the Board of Commissioners, we weigh all positive and negative aspects regarding each proposal, regardless of financial parameters. We do not zone property for a commercial use inside a residential subdivision just because the land is less costly. The Fire Department chose the Cash property as their prime location a year ago. The location behind Merchants Village would provide good accessibility to Columbia and Washington roads, which are the two major arterial roads servicing the Martinez area. Since this area is primarily commercial, there would be no adverse impact from the Fire Department operations on area residents. Old Evans Road is a residential service road. Even though the Fire Department has agreed to limit its use of sirens, the single railroad crossing presents an obstacle to response time.
3. Preserving a county-owned passive park within an R-3 subdivision surrounded by the urban area of Martinez enhances the quality of life of one of the oldest subdivisions in Columbia County, which lacks any real open space for neighborhood interaction. Almost every new subdivision developed in Columbia County has some family/recreational amenity.
4. I asked Martinez Fire Chief Doug Cooper if we could have a meeting with Hull/Story Development, which is willing to negotiate access along Kroger Drive with certain stipulations. If these discussions could have taken place, some qualified decision could have been reached, or all possibilities could have been exhausted before locating in a neighborhood park that would be lost forever. I asked Chief Cooper to table his request until we could address these issues, but he refused.
If this proposal could at least have been addressed, perhaps the fire department could acquire their prime location and the park within Columbia Heights Subdivision could be preserved for passive use in perpetuity. Through harmonious integration of proper land utilization, we establish a better-quality fire service and enhance our communitys integrity for all citizens.
Planning Commission District 1
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