Commission follows judge's order, allows Foxhall area rezoning

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It's a debate that's been brewing in the Foxhall subdivision for months.

Developers already own the west Augusta property near Davis Road, but the commission has gone back and forth over the zoning.

Tuesday, June 20, Foxhall residents came before the commission for the third time to fight the proposed development, and commissioners made their final decision.

A group of Atlanta developers want to rezone residential land there to build a big shopping center near I-20 and Walton Way Extension.

But after outcry from residents concerned about increased traffic and flooding, a commission majority told developers they could not rezone.

The developers took the issue to court, and Chief Judge William Fleming ruled the commission could not block the plans. Fleming gave them 60 days to reverse the decision.

But that did not stop homeowners from fighting it.

"We made investments in our homes," resident Win Johnson said Tuesday. "We paid mortgages, and we are concerned."

"Erosion and silting is going to occur. It's going right through the Augusta National. Going to sail through Lake Olmstead, and God help us if the dam breaks at Lake Olmstead. You're going to flood downtown Augusta," resident Bill Bambrick said.

"I have concerns for the citizens in that area, but I do know it means many more jobs, and things for the city that we need," said commissioner Betty Beard.

"The judge has spoken," said commissioner Jimmy Smith, "and I for one can't go against the judge. I can't do it."

On a 7-3 vote, the commission decided to follow Judge Fleming's order--but not before nearly an hour of debating.

Finally Mayor Deke Copenhaver cut off the debate and called for a vote. Commissioner Marion Williams attempted to continue the debate, but Copenhaver told him he had not been recognized to speak.

The attorney for the developer says he doesn't understand why there was so much discussion when the commission had an opportunity for appeal, which they did not do.

Now that the rezoning has been approved, developers hope to break ground by the end of the year.