Debate will continue Dec. 6 on a rezoning request, proposed in part by a Superior Court judge, after the Columbia County Planning Commission on Thursday tabled the measure until their next meeting.
Judge James G. Blanchard, Joe Blanchard and Billie June Morgan want to rezone about 27 acres along Blanchard Road near Blanchard Woods Park from a light-density residential zoning to commercial and professional uses.
Under the proposal, the property would be rezoned from Residential-1 to a mix of Commercial-2 and Professional-1 zonings.
Planning Director Jeff Browning said the proposal does not conform to the county's Growth Management Plan, and a report from county staff advised planning commissioners to give the proposal a negative recommendation.
Planning commissioners tabled the request until their Dec. 6 meeting because the judge and his family were unable to attend Thursday's meeting because of a previously scheduled trip.
Residents of the area along Blanchard and Hereford Farm roads filled the Evans Government Center auditorium, with several urging planning commissioners to deny the request because of concerns about increased traffic and loss of quality of life for area residents.
Lee Goolsby, a resident of Birchwood subdivision, said he did not want a commercial development to take away from the beauty of the area and the new Blanchard Woods Park. He said the interests of a powerful family in the county shouldn't overrule the Growth Management Plan.
Neighbors, he said, would perceive the approval of this proposal to be "preferential treatment to a (family) of power and influence in Columbia County."
In other business, planning commissioners unanimously approved a request to rezone about 5 acres at Jessie Road and Collins Drive from Residential-3A to Planned Unit Development.
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