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Planning commission approves Laney-Walker zoning

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An overlay zoning district for an area in the Laney-Walker neighborhood was approved by the city planning commission Monday with the condition that city planners and the development group meet with a small number of residents to clarify the proposal’s language.

The meeting must occur in the coming week before the proposal moves to the Nov. 15 Augusta Commission meeting for final approval.

Fourteen neighborhood residents opposed the overlay zoning at the commission meeting, arguing that they still do not understand how it would affect their property rights. This came after a series of neighborhood meetings in the past month intended to explain the zoning proposal.

An overlay zoning district adds special provisions that may restrict land use in that area. The proposal was pulled from an Oct. 3 planning commission meeting after residents argued they had not received proper notification.

According to Warren Campbell, senior project manager for APD Urban Planning and Management, the overlay will protect new residential and commercial development in the Laney-Walker area. Land uses not listed in the zoning proposal such as pawn shops, liquor stores and nightclubs would need further approval from the city, a step that is not currently in place.

During the hearing, discussions between the planning commission and Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association President Aline Scott revealed that a separate document circulating among the community members caused misunderstanding of the proposal up for approval. That document detailed long-range development plans for other sections of the Laney-Walker area and specified potential property design guidelines.

However, Campbell said those design guidelines were only plans for the future and were not part of the proposal up for Monday’s vote.

His development firm circulated that document in an effort to be more transparent about ongoing development in the area, but that move backfired causing undue confusion and mistrust, he said.

“That’s the irony. We put it together so the people knew what was happening and it turned around and made it look like we are trying to hide something,” Campbell said.

At the hearing, Campbell stated for the commission and the residents that the overlay does not have the power to switch single-family residences into commercial use, another possible misunderstanding the residents had.

Many members of the Laney-Walker community, including Scott, said the document that the commission voted on had never been seen by residents. The meeting to be held this week will simplify document language, which was read aloud before the vote.

“I’m pleased with the approval with the condition because that gives us a chance to get all the people together and make sure we have the same package; that we’re reading the same thing and understanding the same thing,” Scott said.

Some residents may never agree with the overlay, but further clarification will help those in opposition, she said.

Initially, the overlay zoning would only be enforced in the new Foundry Place, a mixed-use development at R.A. Dent Boulevard and Wrightsboro Road.

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mike71345
75
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mike71345 11/07/11 - 11:53 pm
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"At the hearing, Campbell

"At the hearing, Campbell stated for the commission and the residents that the overlay does not have the power to switch single-family residences into commercial use, another possible misunderstanding the residents had."
It's not an issue of houses being turned into businesses. It's the issues of empty, bull-dozed lots that are currently zoned residential that have the potential to become businesses.

"Initially, the overlay zoning would only be enforced in the new Foundry Place, a mixed-use development at R.A. Dent Boulevard and Wrightsboro Road."
Currently there is one corner of the area zoned commercial. The rest is residential. A neighborhood with two parts zoned differently does not fit the definition of 'mixed-use.' But they are planning a mixed-use development. Who's fooling who?

countyman
19694
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countyman 11/08/11 - 04:37 am
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I believe the new Foundry

I believe the new Foundry Place development includes retail/office at the bottom and housing on the top.. In this case the proper name is mixed-use.. There's nothing similar to that in the area, and would be a huge improvement.

I definitely expect Laney Walker, Sand Hills, and Harrisburg to catch up in terms of gentrification.. Olde Town is much futher ahead than both neighborhoods and proves it can be accomplished. The proximity of Laney Walker to the CBD and Medical District is a huge plus.. Imagine if GHSU were to actually build dorms or their research park in the area.

Hopefully in the near future the Medical District can add more residential.. Over the next few years we should have nine stable and growing neighborhoods/areas located in the inner city or on the edge of downtown.. Summerville, Midtown, Country Club Hills, Olde Town, Forest Hills, Waters Edge, Harrisburg, Laney Walker, and Sand Hills.. East Augusta, 15th street near Josey, and Bethlehem have a longer ways to go..

southern2
5953
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southern2 11/08/11 - 12:29 pm
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What a waste of deficit

What a waste of deficit government spending. Another meeting is needed to explain the overlay zoning? PLEASE...This after a series of neighborhood meetings in the past month intended to explain the zoning proposal. Are these folks even capable of understanding this issue? I would be embarrassed and ashamed. Simple, if you are going to take public money then you will have to follow the guidelines. When are we going to quit buying people new houses? We are broke. This has certainly contributed to our nations economic woes and has been a drag on Augusta for many years.

Cancel the proposed meeting and take the money back!

mike71345
75
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mike71345 11/08/11 - 01:46 pm
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"I believe the new Foundry

"I believe the new Foundry Place development includes retail/office at the bottom and housing on the top.. In this case the proper name is mixed-use.. "
Then, any two contiguous areas which are zoned differently would be "mixed-use"?

In regards to meetings, the city set up two propaganda pieces by the developer it has hired to oversee the project and to whom the city is surrendering its citizens rights.
The law requires that any application for an overlay zone be accompanied by the full text of all proposed restrictions. We have been asking Planning and Zoning for six weeks for that document with no success. It was only yesterday, at the hearing, that we were able to have them specify the restrictions. I say they could have cleared it up six weeks ago, but, to tell the truth, the restrictions have changed since then.

"Simple, if you are going to take public money then you will have to follow the guidelines. When are we going to quit buying people new houses? "
The local tax money that is going to "revitalize" Laney-Walker is supposed to be used for infrastructure alone, not building people houses. I blame the local media for that misunderstanding, because they keep reporting it wrong.
The new houses are being built by private developers using federal funds, and building them as low-income housing.
I have no doubt that a lot of dirt could be uncovered in all those dealings, but the restrictions they were proposing to place on the neighborhood (and whose scope has been narrowed) would have affected those residents who have nothing to do with the newly-built properties.

southern2
5953
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southern2 11/08/11 - 03:28 pm
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Excuse me mike71345, I

Excuse me mike71345, I thought "new houses are being built by private developers using federal funds, and building them as low-income housing" was buying people new houses. What's the difference?

mike71345
75
Points
mike71345 11/09/11 - 01:00 am
0
0
For one, it's would be rental

For one, it's would be rental property. More important, the funding is not coming from the TEE Center/Laney Walker redevelopment funds I assumed you were complaining about. Or at least it shouldn't be.
The local media has repeatedly reported the redevelopment funds that are being raised by taxes locally are building those houses.
The housing authority said they want the homes to be owner-occupied, the developer says they want owner-occupied housing there, city officials, the local media, they have all been saying that. And that the funding for those buildings is coming from private development. Where the private developers are getting the money (federal funds that come from taxes) is another issue, and one the media should be looking into. If they had been, we wouldn't have the issue we do have now--
private developers building low-income housing and placing restrictions on surrounding property owners to "protect" that investment.
Do you want the guy building Section 8 houses next to you to call the shots on what you can do with YOUR property?
It's a messy situation, but I hope that makes it a little clearer.

southern2
5953
Points
southern2 11/09/11 - 09:54 am
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Not one bit! You continue to

Not one bit! You continue to reinforce my point...federal funds that come from taxes.

mike71345
75
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mike71345 11/09/11 - 10:49 am
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I'm not disagreeing that

I'm not disagreeing that federal funds are tax money.
The following was your main point as I take it--
"Simple, if you are going to take public money then you will have to follow the guidelines."
It's the developer who is getting public money (from federal tax revenue) who is trying to impose regulations on people who are not receiving that money. Do you still support that?

southern2
5953
Points
southern2 11/09/11 - 11:54 am
0
0
No. I'm opposed to anyone

No. I'm opposed to anyone getting any federal, state, or local funding for the redevelopment and beautification of any neighborhood until we have a balanced budget and don't have to borrow money from the Chinese to pay for it. I have seen money poured into this area for at least the last 20 years while other areas of Richmond County have gone without. Just tired of being held hostage to the demands of a few.

Why would the developer care about imposing regulations on anybody? Seems he is at no risk. Guaranteed payment from the feds and gone. Must be a requirement.

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