A contested apartment complex for Alexander Drive got the green light Monday from the Augusta Planning Commission.
The commission voted to approve a rezoning request by Emory Equity LLC, based in Atlanta and Charleston, S.C., to develop 10 three-story apartment buildings, which would include basement levels and total 252 units. The 22-acre parcel backs up to National Hills subdivision.
Part of the commission’s motion included rezoning a strip of land near National Hills West from single- to multiple-family residential.
Conditions to the approval were that builders maintain a 100-foot buffer between the complex and existing homes while denying vehicle access into National Hills.
“The reality is that the property is going to be developed,” said Augusta Planning and Development Director George Patty. “The economy right now favors apartments. It has for the last five years. I think it’s inevitable that somebody’s going to build apartments on this property. I think this is about as good as you’re going to get.”
The recommended approval will be forwarded to the Augusta Commission when it meets June 18.
At a May 20 meeting, National Hills homeowners voiced complaints about water drainage problems caused by an apartment complex behind their homes and worried that a new development would add to the problem.
Others were worried about lowered property values, additional traffic and crowded schools.
About 40 people showed up Monday at the planning meeting in opposition to the apartments.
Brookwood Drive resident Tina Slendak spoke at both meetings about the pool’s damage from water runoff during and after construction.
“Developers come, sell the idea, build it and then leave,” said Slendak, a board member of the National Hills Neighborhood Association. “(They) sell the property to various management groups and the complexes go down from there. We simply do not have the confidence in our city, the owner or another developer to ensure this project is done any better than the last one.”
Monthly rent for the one- to three-bedroom apartments would be between $1,000 and $1,300.