A new subdivision proposal that went before a county commission committee Monday raised two questions:
Should nature trails be mandated for new subdivisions? And how would such a move affect the cost of new homes being built in the county?
"We're getting to the point where you can't build moderate housing in Columbia County,'' said Jerry Greenway, a developer of the High Meadows subdivision on Chamblin Road, which is one of the county's largest newly planned subdivisions, with 356 lots. "Everybody's going to Grovetown.''
Greenway's subdivision proposal was before the county's Planning and Engineering Services Committee on Monday because of a staff report that stated the new neighborhood would need a nature trail. Greenway said he never knew such a requirement had been made for High Meadows and that he hadn't seen the report.
At the county's most recent planning commission meeting, board members at first ruled against rezoning for the subdivision because Greenway had said he didn't know about the trail requirement and preferred not to have it because it would cost homeowners more money each month for upkeep.
After planning commissioners voted against the rezoning, Greenway said he would include the trails, and the rezoning received approval.
At Monday's meeting, committee members discussed whether a trail actually could be mandated for Greenway's subdivision.
"A (planned unit development) is kind of an open-ended thing,'' county Commissioner Steve Brown said.
Greenway said he is trying to build a subdivision that has moderate-level homes that start in the $115,000 range. He said requiring residents to pay an added fee for a trail's maintenance could make things more difficult for the homeowners.
In the end, the committee members agreed to have Greenway talk with the county's green space committee about the possibility of having land donated so the county might install the trails.
Greenway said he has no problem with giving an easement to the county for such trails.
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