Sometimes a rezoning application is rejected by the Columbia County Planning Commission because it doesn't fit the Growth Management Plan.
On Thursday, though, the commission's chairman said it was the Growth Management Plan that didn't fit a development that's already occurring in the area of a proposed rezoning near Evans High School.
Developer Mike Graybill, of Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate, convinced the commission that a proposed rezoning of one acre at the intersection of Hereford Farm Road at Cox Road from R-2, medium residential, to P-1, office professional, was acceptable, despite the parcel's location outside the Evans Town Center area.
"This is not a low-density residential area. It changed on you," Graybill said.
The latest Growth Management Plan calls for the area to be light to medium residential and prohibit commercial and professional development.
Woody Cook, the owner of the property, said it would be tough to market it as residential because of the high traffic flow at the intersection.
Graybill and his associates said the Growth Management Plan is a good plan but argued that within a quarter-mile radius of the site sits a high school, the new Evans Middle School and Board of Education office under construction, and a senior care home.
Graybill said he intends to build a doctor's office on the site.
"This is the right zoning at the right place at the right time," he said.
"Though it's a guideline, it's a guideline we like to stick to," Chairman Tom Sprague said.
Sprague, who was on the steering committee for the Growth Management Plan, said the commission takes the plan seriously, but "sometimes certain pieces will fall outside" its purview.
The commission unanimously approved the rezoning.
In other business, planning commissioners:
- Approved the rezoning of the old Appling post office at 1963 Appling Harlem Road from R-1, low-density residential, to C-1, neighborhood commercial, for a women's apparel business.
- Disapproved the rezoning of 10.74 acres on Evans-to-Locks Road from R-2 to T-R, town home residential.
- Tabled the rezoning of 1.43 acres from R-1 to P-1 at 135 Lewiston Road, because the applicant was not present for public comment.
- Tabled the rezoning of 57.88 acres from R-A, residential-agricultural, to P-1, at the intersection of Knob Hill Farm and Washington roads.
- Tabled the rezoning of 7.97 acres from T-R to S-1, special use, on Old Evans Road near Old Petersburg Road.
- Approved a final plat for Northridge II, a 39-lot, 7.18-acre subdivision on North Belair Road.
- Approved a final plat for applicants Rodney and Linda Rogers to subdivide their 22.57-acre tract on Stag Antler Road into three parcels.
- Approved preliminary plats for Highgrove at Williamsburg VI on Hardy McManus Road, Bartram Trail IV on William Few Parkway and Riverwood West on the soon-to-be-constructed General Woods Parkway.
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