National Hills residents question proposed apartment complex

A proposed 252-unit apartment complex behind the National Hills subdivision has brought with it dozens of complaints by neighbors worried about property values and additional water runoff problems, among other issues.

The main concern voiced Tuesday night by residents was that more apartments on Alexander Drive neighboring the subdivision would exacerbate water drainage issues for homes on Brookwood Drive. Drainage problems began after another complex was built nearby on Alexander Drive about a decade ago, National Hills homeowners said.

“I know of five or seven houses that’s had their foundations completely moved and had jacks put on them,” said Richard Anderson, whose home is on Brookwood Drive. “Mine being one.”

The proposed developer, Arthur Lynn, a managing member of Emory Equity LLC, presented a conceptual plan to about 75 people at the National Hills Neighborhood Association meeting.

The city was represented at the meeting by Augusta Commission member Donnie Smith, whose district includes the neighborhood; Sonny Pittman, Smith’s appointee on the planning commission; and planning and development staff.

Lynn asked planning commissioners to postpone a rezoning request for the 22-acre property earlier this month so he could address concerns with homeowners.

Emory Equity, based out of Atlanta and Charleston, S.C., is planning to develop 10, four-story apartment buildings, which include a basement level. Lynn said the units would rent from $900-1,300 monthly, with three-bedroom apartments making up 5 percent of the units.

Some residents raised questions about lowered property values, additional traffic, crowded schools and blasting damage from construction.

“You may have the best intentions of bringing all of these hip people to rent but they all go down sooner or later,” said Tina Slendak, who lives on Brookwood Drive. “That’s what our concerns are.”

Augusta Planning and Development Director George Patty said zoning is a balancing act.

“We’ve allowed all of these apartments to be built over there one at a time and to tell them that they can’t build apartments on their property, which is similarly situated to the others, would not fly,” he said.

Smith promised that if the apartments are approved, access to and from the complex could be made only from a right turn and the median on Alexander Drive would not be altered to affect traffic flow.

The issue is expected to be heard at the next city planning commission meeting June 3.

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Mon, 12/05/2016 - 22:47

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