January 3, 2006
New shopping centers usually bring more traffic dangers. One developer wants to bring a shopping center to a residential area off Fury’s Ferry, and people who live there are not happy about it. News 12 is on your side with how zoning laws could affect your safety.
Deputies say there’s an average of ten accidents a week, and 120 a year in busy intersections.
Leah Ronen wants to keep the kids at the Augusta Jewish Community Center away from that kind of traffic.
“In eight to ten years we could be looking at just the type of developments we don’t think would help the area in any way,” Ronen said.
Starting with the possibility of a shopping center across the street within the next year. Deputy Keith Warner says it could bring the same congestion that came with the Evans Wal-Mart.
“The more traffic you have in an area, of course it’s gonna be more congested, more traffic accidents,” Warner said.
Developer T.R. Reddy asked Columbia County to rezone nine acres off Fury’s Ferry.
The Office of Planning and Development might consider rezoning residential land like this if they think the land can be put to better use by allowing businesses to move in. Another reason they might rezone is if the residential land is already surrounded by commercial property.
Senior Planner Tom Tully says Reddy’s case doesn’t fit those requirements.
“The 2000 growth management plan calls for that area to remain residential, so the developer has withdrawn his application,” Tully said.
“We’re concerned it could be brought up again in a matter of months,” Ronen said.
And that’s exactly what the developer plans to do, make a few changes and resend a new plan. The Office of Planning and Development says it will have to fit with Columbia County’s growth management plan.
“I don’t think that rezoning to C2 would be consistent with the vision that’s part of that plan,” Ronen said.
The developer will find out at Tuesday night’s Board of Commission meeting when he will be able to offer up a new plan. The Office of Planning and Development says that area should stay residential. Commissioners will have the final say.
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