Columbia County planning commissioners disapproved a plan to build a professional complex and storage units on property in Evans.
It was the second time in recent years planners denied the request from property owner Gail Stebbins, whose lawsuit against the county over the first decision is still pending.
Stebbins told planners last week that the topography of the property - which has a large slope along the back - is appropriate only for her plans. She proposed building a commercial and office complex in front with storage buildings in back. The storage units would be completely enclosed and climate-controlled and serve the occupants of the center and nearby residents.
"This is not a heavy industrial or commercial use," she said.
Stebbins' request was to rezone the property from neighborhood commercial use to the more intensive community commercial use with a conditional use for the mini-warehouses.
Stebbins - who brought a court reporter to record the meeting - showed planners' notes from neighboring property supporting the project and said prepping the land for any other use would be too expensive. She said fill dirt estimates came in at $52,000 per acre.
"It's not a question of highest and best use," she said. "It is a matter of economics."
Plus, the back part of the property wouldn't be attractive for commercial users because potential customers couldn't see them, she said.
But planners said the use was too intensive for the area.
"It seems to me like your whole issue here is topography," said planning commission member Steve Brown. "If zoning based on topography or location and use?"
In the end, they voted unanimously against it.
The request will be forwarded to the Columbia County Board of Commissioners for a final vote Monday.
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