Despite warnings that something much worse might be built on adjacent land, the Columbia County Commission denied a rezoning request Tuesday that would have allowed the construction of a luxury apartment complex in Evans.
Executives from Meybohm Commercial Properties and Johnson Development Associates Inc. asked for the rezoning of 10 acres at the corner of Washington and Kroger roads from commercial to apartment-residential uses. The property abuts 20 acres already zoned for apartment use.
Developers had planned to combine the acreage for the luxury apartments.
The commission voted 3-1 to deny the request, with Ron Thigpen approving. Diane Ford was absent.
Jim Berardinelli, the director of real estate for Spartanburg, S.C.-based Johnson Development Associates, said his company intended to build an upscale apartment complex targeted to young professionals at an average cost of $900 per month per apartment in a 312-unit complex.
Before the vote, Meybohm's Dennis Trotter warned the commission that nearby residents could be faced with a substandard apartment complex created by developers heeding only the minimum standards of construction on the 20 acres already zoned for apartments.
Because the zoning of the 20 acres next to the Heritage Hills subdivision is already in place, commissioners can do little to prevent a different developer from constructing less-desirable apartments there, Thigpen said.
The property previously had been zoned as apartment-residential. It was rezoned for commercial uses in mid-2007 for a Tractor Supply store. Later, executives decided to remain at their Bobby Jones Expressway location.
Berardinelli has said his company would not build if they were limited to 20 acres, because 30 acres is needed to build something other than subsidized housing on the property.
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