The Columbia County Planning Commission agreed Thursday to move forward with an amendment that would require advertising any major changes to properties zoned as special districts, planned unit developments or planned development districts.
The amendment to the zoning code also would make distinctions between minor and major revisions. "Major" revisions would be advertised as a public hearing with posted signs, while "minor" revisions would need only the planning commission's consent.
Minor revisions would include a decrease in a property's density, the addition of amenities or square footage, or a change in location of proposed buildings, according to a draft of the new code. Major changes would include increasing a property's density.
"Those type of updates we want to go ahead and advertise so the people in the neighborhood and the people in the public are aware of them, so nobody feels like they've been blindsided by it," county planner Justin Snyder said.
The issue was brought up before the planning commission after residents in the Amberley section of Riverwood Plantation weren't told of a request, which was withdrawn from the Oct. 2 agenda, to increase the property's density.
"We ran into a situation with Amberley at Riverwood where their residents weren't notified of the changes and staff was unaware this was such a hot button for them," Snyder said. Before the amendment can take effect, it will be discussed by county commissioners and be part of a public hearing at the planning commission's Dec. 18 meeting in the Evans Government Complex auditorium. That meeting will start at 6:30 p.m.
Also at Thursday's meeting, the planning commission approved a request to revise a special-district zoning for the Sanctuary church on Byrd Road near Evans High School. The property has undergone two changes in ownership since it was zoned as special district in 1999. In the next couple of years, the church plans to build a new sanctuary and classroom space, add two temporary portable buildings and renovate the existing building.
The commission also approved a planned unit development revision for Belair-Evans Associates. The 4.65-acre parcel on Town Park Boulevard will be subdivided into three lots and developed into professional office.
Also approved were a final plat for 13 lots in the Farms at Greenbrier subdivision on North Tubman Road and a preliminary plat for 14 townhomes at River Birch Landing off Hereford Farm Road.
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