UPDATE: North Augusta votes to rezone old Seven Gables property for public use

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Monday, July 1, 2019

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The North Augusta City Council voted 5-2 in favor of rezoning the old Seven Gables on the Martintown Road from single family residential to public use so that they can move forward with putting a public safety building there.

Monday, March 18, 2019
News 12 at 11

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The North Augusta City Council gave its city administrator the power to change the zoning rules when it comes to city-owned property.

Many neighbors are saying it’s a power grab to push the new public safety building construction project.

North Augusta City Council chambers turned into a war room tonight.

On one side, a city wanting to do what they feel is best for the community. On the other, neighbors who feel like their complaints are falling on deaf ears.

"Y'all are trying to steal my peace. I don't like it. I don't like it one bit," said Bill Scott, a neighbor who lives just 50 feet away from the proposed construction site of North Augusta’s new fire station.

"I don't appreciate you questioning our character," said councilman Fletcher Dickert.

After tonight's decision, the city administrator can rewrite the language of the city code.

That means any city-owned property doesn't have to follow the rules of the overlay, which was designed to protect historic homes in the area.

"I think too many people, instead of disagreeing on facts, are making things personal in this town and that's very unfortunate," said Dickert.

Many neighbors think the city is re-writing its own laws for one reason only: building a new fire station at the Seven Gables/Flythe properties on Georgia Avenue.

"Nobody listens. But here’s the thing, I wonder what you would do if the fire station was being built next to you. Honestly, I don't know,” said Scott.

People in the meeting were yelling, shouting, and applauding.

"What would you do," said Scott.

The mayor insists it’s only a code issue at this point--but admits the intent to build the fire station is there. Many on the council feel the top of the hill is the best place to build to keep the community safe.

"It will be one of the best looking fire stations around, and it will fit in with that community," said Councilman Ken McDowell. "That's my opinion."

The city has already tried to build here but planning commission voted 7-0 against the idea last year, citing the overlay.

"What you are doing is not only despicable. It's immoral. Thank you," said North Augusta Constitution Party Chair and neighbor Ken Powell.

"We've got to act like grownups and work together," said Dickert.

This doesn't mean they've already decided to change the zoning rules for the piece of property where the fire station could go, it just means the city administrator can get the wheels turning to do that.

The planning commission still would have to hold a public hearing and judging from the response tonight that means this is far from a done deal.