It is time Columbia County homeowners sent a clear message to the Columbia County officials that we do not want huge commercial monstrosities near any of our neighborhoods. I am referring to the proposed 85,000- square-foot Kroger strip mall that is under consideration. The county intends to let it happen with a few flimsy suggested modifications.
The report on the countys Web site states that Staff recommends approval of the concept of the PUD for the center at this location on condition that the permitted uses comport with the commercial uses allowed in the C-1 zoning district, that reduction in the largest tenant be considered in the 47,000 square foot range order to keep the center with the Neighborhood Commercial Center concept, and with the comments mentioned in the interdepartmental review.
Maybe this stipulation would make sense if the Kroger was the only entity, but there will be many more commercial entities located in the same strip mall just like all the other Krogers in the area, all adding up to around 70,000 square feet.
According to what I read on the Columbia County Web site, the county is suggesting modifications in size (a decrease of 15,000 square feet for Kroger) in an attempt to make this commercial nightmare appear more palatable to homeowners and the surrounding neighborhoods. The suggested modifications might make officials sleep better if they make a few concessions to show they tried to make it better. Sorry, but it isnt better, and it never will be OK to have a strip mall located near any neighborhood, period.
Our homes are our refuge, sanctum and escape from commercial hustle-bustle. We retreat to our homes to get away from Washington Road-like environments. We are entitled to have peace and quiet and relaxation without intrusion of noise pollution, light pollution, traffic congestion and ugly, disgusting concrete buildings and acres of asphalt in place of greenspace and trees.
For the county to even entertain the idea of approving such a large commercial entity so close to so many homes is proof that they do not give a flip about preserving the peace and tranquility around our homes and neighborhoods. Nor do they seem to care if property values plummet. Im confident that no one moved to Columbia County to be conveniently located near a strip mall or huge grocery store. ...
It is obvious to me that the county lives and breathes for commercial development and growth. Oh, yes, there is the plan that guides decisions related to development in Columbia County. The plan apparently gives the county clear conscience to wreak ruination on our neighborhoods. That plan can certainly be changed or not changed to protect our homes. The county needs to start making decisions from the heart and what is best for the majority of its residents rather than from their pocketbook and the almighty commercial development dollar.
The plan currently calls for community-friendly commercial entities that do not endanger the character of our area. So, why re-zone the plan for something that will definitely endanger the character of our area?
Controlled development is a good thing for the economy, jobs, etc. What isnt good is for that development to be shoved into the front doors of homeowners. We have automobiles, and we can drive anywhere in Columbia County to shop or work provided we can get out of our neighborhood due to all the heavy traffic. Imagine the traffic that will result from a 70,000 square foot strip mall. ...
I dont want the county to approve a PUD anywhere near any neighborhood, and I hope an army of homeowners will come to the next planning meeting to oppose this PUD rezoning and stand up for the rights of all homeowners. What we dont want is for the county to set a dangerous precedent. If the county rezones this property to allow for this proposed PUD monstrosity, Katie bar the door because a car dealership or Wal-Mart will be next.
A message to big developers: Stop following our rooftops. A message to our county officials: Stop allowing them to do so. It is time the county started protecting homeowners and neighborhoods instead of ruining them.
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