Augusta commissioners deny rezoning request despite lawsuit

Hillside community
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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The battle is not over at Augusta's upscale Hillside community. Commissioners already voted not to rezone land behind the neighborhood back in June, and they confirmed that was the right decision again Tuesday.

The topic was placed back on Tuesday's commission agenda after developers filed a lawsuit.

Elizabeth Nash lives in the Hillside community.

"We're retired older people who have their life's investment in this community," Nash said.

The Hillcreek community is a quiet, peaceful place, complete with tennis courts, a community swimming pool and picturesque scenery.

If the property is rezoned, though, the trees behind many of the homes would soon be replaced by two-and-three-story apartments.

"It would literally be in my backyard. Looking down into my windows, I would never be able to open a blind again," Nash said.

Back in June, commissioners unanimously voted against rezoning the property.

But the property owners say they didn't have a legal reason to deny their request.

"Some additional things have happened, and we've been involved in a lawsuit, so before we went forward with that, we wanted to let commission know where various things stand right now," said George Patty with Planning and Development.

And after Tuesday's decision, people like Nash are pleased to be one step closer to a victory.

"We have no objection to the development of the property, we only have objection to the apartments being there," she said.

Nash says if the lawsuit is upheld and the property is rezoned, it would run a lot of good people out of the neighborhood -- and possibly the city.

"If they put two-and-three story apartments right in my backyard, we will have to move. We will probably move to Columbia County where they have a moratorium on apartments," she said.

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