Attorney Bill Coleman said it was an issue of managing growth and argued Tuesday night that a new apartment complex on Wheeler Road wouldn't be a detriment to Columbia County.
"This is going to be a nice project," said Coleman, who was representing Hathaway Development Co. of Atlanta. "I think what we're talking about tonight really is managing growth."
However, Columbia County commissioners disapproved a rezoning of 24 acres at Tuesday night's board meeting that would have allowed the complex at Wheeler and Ashley Mill roads.
The vote wasn't so much based on growth concerns but instead on figures that county officials say show there are already enough apartment complexes planned in the county.
"The opportunity is out there in zoned form today," said Jeff Browning, the county's planning director, after telling commissioners there are currently six county parcels that have zoning allowing apartments, for a potential of 1,879 units that could be built sometime in the future.
Coleman argued that he's not aware of any such developments proceeding as quickly as Hathaway, which he said would like to start its project in December.
"There's a need for these apartments now," he said.
But after hearing Browning say there already is an adequate number of apartments being planned to meet the county's future demand, commissioners voted 4-0 against the rezoning. Commissioner Diane Ford was absent.
In other action, commissioners also:
- Agreed to accept a stainless steel sculpture donated by the Augusta Mall to be displayed at the county's Memorial Gardens next to the new library in Evans. The county will pay about $3,000 to $5,000 to have the sculpture moved and set on a base. The 10-foot-tall abstract sculpture, called The Butterfly, was valued at $40,000 when installed in the mall in the 1970s. It is currently located at the entrance to JCPenney.
- Agreed to traffic signal requests by the Home Depot that's under construction at the former Evans Middle School site at the corner of North Belair and Washington roads. The new signals will go in at Evans to Locks Road at Washington Road and on North Belair Road at the entrance to the Evans Stadium Cinema.
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