A handful of his new constituents weren’t pleased, but newly sworn-in District 7 Commissioner Sean Frantom said his vote to OK a new gated community off Berckmans Road wasn’t a hard one.
“I reached out to a few other homeowners last night,” said Frantom, who won a special election runoff for the post last week and took his oath of office before Tuesday’s Augusta Commission meeting.
Frantom said he “had to lean on the experience” of his commission colleagues and the city’s planning and development department, which approved allowing sports event management company Byrom PLC to erect seven 3,500-square-foot homes on a 2.4-acre tract, exceeding density requirements.
Homeowner Sam Spangler, who lives two doors down from the site, spoke on behalf of a group of Jamestown subdivision residents who’ll see a section of their neighborhood – its older homes now demolished – fenced off for the new development.
Spangler said he had been provided little information about the project at an earlier planning commission meeting, and the special zoning exception will give developers “very relaxed” requirements for what they can do at the location.
Harry Revell, an attorney for the developers, said they already accommodated the city by reducing the project from 15 to 16 condos to seven houses, and that despite its proximity to Augusta National Golf Club, the homes “are not the so-called hospitality houses” lining nearby streets.
The homes “will be used strictly for residential use,” Revell told commissioners.
The commission voted 7-2 to approve the special zoning exception, with Commissioners Ben Hasan and Marion Williams opposed and Bill Lockett away at a conference in Seattle.
Hasan said he voted against the project because Spangler hadn’t received the information he sought about the project.
“If they did not answer his questions, I don’t think he got properly served,” Hasan said.