Columbia County commissioners Tuesday approved $600,000 in road improvements on Washington Road as an economic incentive for the second phase of Mullins Crossing.
The funds, split between the county's Economic Development Fund and 1-cent sales tax dollars, will pay for widening and traffic signals.
"The amount of revenue brought in as a result of this shopping center will definitely take care of" the cost, said Deputy Administrator Scott Johnson.
Commissioners also gave final approval to a new ordinance requiring developers to advertise some changes to large projects such as planned unit developments.
Changes, such as adding units or reducing passive recreation spaces, now require developers to advertise the changes with posted signs and in the media prior to meeting with county planning commissioners.
Also during the meeting, the commission scaled back funding for some proposed road improvement projects.
Commissioners previously discussed using 1-cent sales tax dollars to fund intersection improvements on Flowing Wells Road. They backed off upon discovering that such improvements might jeopardize $30 million in state funding to transform the busy thoroughfare.
During a Tuesday work session, officials agreed to suspend the nearly $3.3 million project to temporarily fix the intersections of Flowing Wells at Columbia, Pleasant Home and Wheeler roads. If they move forward with the project, the state Department of Transportation will require the county to take ownership of Flowing Wells Road, which might eliminate future DOT funding for a widening project.
Johnson said officials intend to negotiate with DOT to take temporary ownership of Flowing Wells Road to make the improvements. Then, after the intersection improvements are complete, they would return ownership to the state.
Commissioners also abandoned $400,000 of streetscape improvements at Columbia and Belair roads. The project was slated to include sidewalks, benches and street lighting for 500 feet extending along each road from the intersection.
Instead, commissioners plan to see how far sidewalks alone might be extended with the funds.
About $775,000 earmarked for street parking, landscaped medians and underground utilities on Evans Town Center Boulevard was placed on hold pending the result of a requested change to the Marshall Square development. The request, which includes adding residences, is slated to be heard before the Planning Commission on Feb. 5.
By abandoning these projects and others, the commission saves more than $3.7 million in transportation contingency funds.
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