Aiken Planning Commission says no to Sam's Club

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If you own a business and you want to set up shop on the south side of Aiken, you may have a hard time breaking ground.

The City of Aiken's Planning Commission voted unanimously against letting Sam's Club develop land in the area because so many people came out against it.

People who call south Aiken home largely say they do not want a Sam's Club built near the intersection of Whiskey Road and Powder House Road.

"They have accidents out here all the time at the corner of Powder House and Whiskey Road. That's another thing that's going to get worse. It's not going to get any better. It will bring property value down, and I don't think we need that in this area," says Aiken resident Paul Oxton.

And many people agree with him. Over 100 people came to the planning commission's meeting Tuesday night to speak out against the project.

"Their attitude was this is primarily a residential area, and a commercial use like a Sam's Club was not appropriate in that area," says Aiken planning director Ed Evans.

The property is zoned for commercial use whether Sam's Club occupies it or not, which local residents don't like.

"The developers to me are getting greedy," says lifelong Aiken resident Mike Thompson. "They are putting building upon building upon building."

"We have a nice little community around here. Great neighbors. And we would like to keep it that way," Oxton says.

Residents along Powder House and College are happy with the planning commission's decision for now. But we can expect to see both sides come together in the future over what to do with this valuable land.

"It's just one of those things the planning commission and council have to balance--trying to accommodate growth while listening to the concerns of the people being affected," says Evans.

The Planning Commission's recommendation will be presented to the Aiken City Council in August. Council members will have the final say on whether Sam's Club may develop the property.