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Apartment plan riles Augusta West residents

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Development plans for a 16.87-acre strip of land off Augusta West Parkway have incited outrage among nearby homeowner associations, who say they fear crime and congestion associated with a proposed apartment complex.

Homeowner associations representing Hillcreek, The Meadows at Hillcreek, Nevis Townhomes and The Professional Offices at Hillcreek are “adamantly opposed” to construction of the 252-unit complex at 1213 Augusta West Parkway, according to a packet of materials provided Augusta commissioners.

“We have a lot of older people in the neighborhood,” said Harry McGahee of the Hillcreek homeowner association. Those elderly homeowners fear burglaries and increased traffic.

“It’s supposed to be an upscale apartment complex, but after seven or eight years, it doesn’t become upscale anymore,” he said. “It just goes to the dogs.”

The area has grown increasingly congested since McGahee purchased a Hillcreek patio home a dozen years ago, and an incoming McDonald’s restaurant at the corner of Wheeler Road and Augusta West Parkway will only increase traffic, he said.

Wesley Taubel of TWO Capital Partners, which is seeking to develop the $22.5 million apartment complex on land owned by the Leonard P. Mays family, wrote the homeowner associations to say the proposed complex will draw renters with an annual income of $66,000 and won’t bring additional traffic or noise exceeding the neighborhood businesses most of the land is currently zoned for.

The neighborhood associations presented a petition containing more than 160 signatures protesting the complex at a recent meeting of the Augusta Planning Commission, which voted against the developer’s rezoning request. The denial goes before the Augusta Commission at a 5 p.m. meeting Tuesday.

“The original design of the area was for the development of an office park with which we would have no objection,” the petition said, while an apartment complex “would forever alter the character of our developments and adversely affect the ambience of our lives.”

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Fools_and_sages
360
Points
Fools_and_sages 06/17/12 - 07:37 pm
7
1
Annual income of $66,000?
Unpublished

How many people in Augusta make $66K? I teach at one of the local colleges and I don't make $66k. Neither do most of my colleagues! Honestly, if you're making $66k in Augusta, you should own a house. If you buy a townhouse in the area where this new apartment complex is supposed to be built, you certainly won't pay more in mortgage and insurance than you pay in rent and, in many cases, you will pay a lot less than renting. Many times these upscale rental communities end up with empty units that they fill with section 8 renters. Not all section 8 renters are problems, but some are-- and that is probably what the HOMEOWNERS in the established townhouse communities in the areas adjacent to the proposed upscale rental development are worried about.

countyman
19673
Points
countyman 06/18/12 - 12:08 am
2
8
I don't understand why people

I don't understand why people would move in/around one of the most desirable areas in the metro, and complain about the traffic.... The Mcdonalds is the least of the future traffic concerns... There's plenty of new construction underway in the area... A private developer purchased the former Regal Village theatre in the Augusta West Plaza...

It's up to the owner if the development continues to be upscale or not... The Estates at Perimeter, Century Glen, Century Hills, etc are definitely still upscale($800-$1k for 1/br)..

I'm sure the household income is well over $66k in the Augusta Exchange area...

I would like to see a few mix-used developments in West Augusta.. I think Wheeler Town Park can become a urban/suburban. pedestrian friendly area were you can live, work, and play... The Augusta Exchange could essentially become the first edge city over the next decade..

arealist
10
Points
arealist 06/18/12 - 12:03 am
8
1
Been there...

I've lived in an apartment complex like the one described here. They required a certain income, background checks, credit checks, etc. Guess what? That lasted until there were too many empty units and the rules were "relaxed". When I finally moved the place was getting quite scary. Cars were being broken into, people were walking around at all hours of the night, questionable people in and out. I try not to judge but it was too obvious that a lot of these people didn't meet the criteria I had to. My son recently visited a friend he met there back then and when he got home he told me he wasn't going back cause he felt nervous the whole time. It just wasn't the same. And the place is only about 3-4 years old now. Sorry folks, but places go downhill for some reason.

countyman
19673
Points
countyman 06/18/12 - 12:20 am
3
7
I doubt any upscale apartment

I doubt any upscale apartment complex built in West Augusta will struggle to attract tenants.. There's only two apartment complexes opening(on Marks Church rd & inside of Wheeler Town Park)so were not building too many at once.. The recently opened Parc Following Wells sitting next to ADP is doing extremely well.. I do agree with the homeowners who live near the proposed development, and would prefer office buildings instead... I hope they realize the traffic will be even worse compared to apartments..

JRC2024
8461
Points
JRC2024 06/18/12 - 07:57 am
3
5
If the complex is anything

If the complex is anything like The Parc on Flowing Wells it will be nice. It is very clean, very quiet and very strict. I have been there several times and did not see any seedy residents. You can't outrun progress and increased population and it is going to come even if you do not like it.

WAG
287
Points
WAG 06/18/12 - 07:22 am
3
8
Marks Church Commons has been

Marks Church Commons has been there for years and it is still a beautiful place to live! It is all in how it is managed and who they let in..All apts require background checks and credit checks... Get over the snobbery!

Granddaddy John
101
Points
Granddaddy John 06/18/12 - 07:54 am
0
0
The Parc also has section 8
Unpublished

The Parc also has section 8

JRC2024
8461
Points
JRC2024 06/18/12 - 08:03 am
6
2
WAC, I don't think it is

WAC, I don't think it is snobbery. I think that they are just worried that the area will be filled with Section 8 and low income renters and that is not good for any upper level homes that people have worked a lifetime to purchase. I certainly would not want that to happen where I live and worked for 43 years to purchase. I can understand that but the traffic issue is moot as far as I am concerned.

seenitB4
85024
Points
seenitB4 06/18/12 - 08:13 am
3
1
Office complex

What is the reason the office complex can't go in that location??

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 06/18/12 - 08:16 am
0
0
arealist, you are right basic
Unpublished

arealist,
you are right basic economics too few good tenants, too many units=vacant units that need to be filled, guess what happens, rules get relaxed although local management has no idea how or why they were, also they can't explain how or why **izé/^^^^^^ine (hint one is an alcohol brand and the other is a mouthwash) and her "man" 6 kids was able to rent an apartment because neither one has a job

southern2
5942
Points
southern2 06/18/12 - 08:48 am
7
2
Snobbery? Pretty strong

Snobbery? Pretty strong criticism of concerned local property owners opposed to Atlanta based developers rewriting Augusta zoning proposals. Who wants a 3 story apartment complex towering their 1 story residential? If there is such a demand for more apartments in this area, why do they have a sign spinner at the corner of Wheeler and AWP advertising free apartment rent? Wasn't the same pitch used to bring in the Amli Way fiasco? That "luxury complex" was Section 8 before it was completed. What is to keep this Atlanta based developer from changing his mind after zoning is approved to take advantage of the Federal tax incentives, low interest loans, rebates, and automatic monthly rent deposits for low income housing? So, are the Augusta Commissioners going support the taxpayers of Augusta and vote against the requested rezoning or an out of town firm looking to turn a quick profit at the homeowners expense and the demise of another local neighborhood?

Riverman1
82026
Points
Riverman1 06/18/12 - 08:34 am
3
3
There is a Need for Apartments

As someone who had to live in several apartments as I lived in several places for years, there is a need for good apartments. I'm not talking government subsidized ones, however. Just nice apartments for people who don't want to buy. I believe Columbia County made a mistake limiting the number of future apartments out there.

allhans
23515
Points
allhans 06/18/12 - 09:17 am
2
1
A family member has his

A family member has his office located at the office complex and the traffic situation becomes awful during heavy traffic periods. You either exit at Wrightsboro Rd near the mall, bumper to bumper traffic, or Wheeler Rd, across from Doctors Hospital, bumper to bumper traffic. The waiting time to exit Augusta West Parkway is miserable.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 06/18/12 - 10:17 am
4
1
I've already seen them come

I've already seen them come in, experienced the negative effects of it, and all I can say now is, may it be something that we can all share. I'd have to say I'm happy about it, as long as it's being built there, it's not being built around me. We moved from Goshen Apartments in 1978 to our home in the cradle of Martinez. Trees abundant, one little Zippy Mart on Old Evans Road, and no apartments. Now we are flanked by Petersburg Apartment complex, Shenandoah Ridge, Wedgewood Apartments, Ansley at Town Center, and several smaller developments up the hill on Blue Ridge Drive. All of these are within a mile. There isn't much land left to build anymore but there is some. Better to spread it around, that way everyone can experience first hand all the "enhancements" that come with the inundation of apartment complexes. Good or bad.

pmccormick
4
Points
pmccormick 06/18/12 - 11:03 am
2
2
apartment zoning on Augusta West Parkway

I am mystified that the writer of this article did not attempt to contact the owner their attorney nor myself as listing and selling agent. Here are some facts that were not mentioned. There are currently apartments on three sides of the Hillcreek subdivision. We would be on the remaining open side. 2nd the buyer has offered many concussions to the Hillcreek Association that would separate and beautify the area including the use of high end building materials. 3rd The apartments surrounding Hillcreek are all 90% full proving demand in this area. 4th and very importantly the proposed use of apartments concerning traffic. The owners have paid for an extensive traffic study which concluded the traffic generated from apartments would be 30% less than if the property was used for its current commercial zoning. On top of that the developer plans to use entries from the front and rear of the property dropping the expected increase of traffic even more. Furthermore the developer has opened a discussion with Hillcreek about the possibility realigning their entrance to West Augusta Parkway to line up with the entrance to a commercial park across the street which would greatly benefit Hillcreeks ability to make a left turn out of their subdivision. I would have thought the writer of this article would have wanted to get the facts before printing one side of any position.

Gage Creed
16645
Points
Gage Creed 06/18/12 - 12:04 pm
3
1
No wonder the HOA members are

No wonder the HOA members are upset...seems the buyer has offered many "concussions" to the HOA's....Freudian slip?

southern2
5942
Points
southern2 06/18/12 - 01:24 pm
3
1
I too am mystified

I too am mystified pmccormick, that we even have to have this debate. Can't you hear the cries of this community as a final act for soundness and serenity of our chosen neighborhood. Your "facts" ring silent. Why would apartments on 3 sides of a neighborhood justify a fourth? Second the promises of beauty, separation, and high end materials. Well excuse me for being a little skeptical but we heard that one when they were developing Amli Way as mentioned in my previous post. Surrounded by 90% capacity of high density housing brings it's own set of problems without adding to the burden. And last, as a long time resident, I am very satisfied with the present Hillcreek entrance and would be as totally opposed to your proposed alignment as I am your 3 story apartment complex. Why don't you develop the property as it was planned and zoned? Again, I urge each member of the Augusta Commission to follow the recommendation of the Augusta Planning and Zoning Board and defeat the efforts of these Atlanta based developers and support the will of the citizens that you represent.

countyman
19673
Points
countyman 06/18/12 - 12:56 pm
1
5
I would live next to Ansley

I would live next to Ansley Town Park anyday of the week... I do agree they built too many apts in the budget/mid-range close to each other(Wedgewood, Shenandoah Ridge).....

Everytime I ride past the apartments off Amili Way I never see anybody outside... They might have a few section 8 tenants, but it's definitely not a poorer apartment complex... Plus Brookstone is building $170k condos right next door...

Who is building $170k condos next to Sunset aka Cherry Tree lol??

I would stay far away from the Augusta Exchange area... If I had a problem with private developers coming from out of town, or future traffic concerns...... There's alot more income throughout metro Atlanta compared to Augusta, and of course they would come to Augusta to build new things...

The truth is the office complex will make the traffic much worse... Everybody won't enter/exit the apt complex at once around 8am/5pm similar to office related jobs...

The best plan is to create a mix-use development in the area.. Apts/condos/townhomes, office, and retail combined together on the property...

southern2
5942
Points
southern2 06/18/12 - 01:20 pm
4
0
Countyman, Obviously my

Countyman, Obviously my experience and opinion of the Amli Way Apartments greatly differs from yours but what reason do you have for the Brookstone Condo project next door to be only partially developed after years of existence? I'm surprised they are only 170K because they were over 200K when they first started selling them. Next time don't just ride past, drive through. I am not opposed to development in the Augusta Exchange area just the wrong kind of development. I consider Hillcreek still one of Augusta's best neighborhoods, and I will do everything I can to keep it that way as will the many property owners here will do.

dichotomy
31950
Points
dichotomy 06/18/12 - 01:21 pm
5
0
You can't blame folks for

You can't blame folks for wanting to keep their neighborhoods stable. With Section 8 happening and a bad economy anything can happen with an apartment complex. Better to oppose it now than regret it later. Now, for you developers, I know where there is 7000 acres of residentially zoned property "south of Spirit Creek" that is just standing empty waiting for the "imminent explosion of growth" that Planning and Zoning used as an excuse and the TAX man taxed us for. Come out here and build some of them upscale apartments and maybe countyman will send you a Target strip mall and a Publix.

countyman
19673
Points
countyman 06/18/12 - 03:12 pm
1
4
Southern... I agree with you

Southern... I've actually been inside of the gated complex off Amili Way... I don't see groups of men standing outside, people drinking beer/liquor outside, or sitting on the porch.. I agree with you in terms of building something better than another complex...

I'm sure the recession had something to do with the status of Brookstone.. It's much harder to get lending from banks to build condos instead of apartments... The economy is improving, and they're building eight new condos in the Brookstone neighborhood.. I don't know of any recently opened/underway condos developments outside of the CBD & West Augusta... Brookstone only starts in the $170k's, and the economy has affected real estate prices across the US...

Dichotomy... The money in South Augusta is out there with you my friend... Goshen, Diamond Lakes, Willis Foreman, Old Waynesboro, Barefield, part of Brown rd not in city of Hephzibah, etc.. The only problem is the traffic and existing infrastructure is located near Peach Orchard/Windsor Spring.... Once the residential continues to grow the retail will follow behind..

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 06/18/12 - 03:57 pm
1
0
Reply to CountyM

Ansley Town is nice looking yes. It's proximity to Lowe's, Publix, Pizza Joint is about exactly as far as Wegdewood and Shenandoah Ridge are to the coin-laundry, Circle K, and the old Food Lion. Ironic no?

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 06/18/12 - 04:06 pm
4
0
Augusta isn't New York or even Atlanta...

People with money, credit and desire to maintain, buy a house; those without it, rent. Though there is a small number who are renting with purchasing power, it is generally for temporary reasons... in college, temporary assignments, waiting on home to sell in another location, waiting while their new home is being constructed, etc...

Multi-family usage is always a blow to single family neighborhoods. I am sorry for Hillcreek residents.

letmejustsay
36
Points
letmejustsay 06/18/12 - 04:26 pm
2
1
Let me just say.... The

Let me just say.... The landowners have rights too. The people that own this land have waited many years for the right opportunity to sell this property. The land that Hill Creek sits on belonged to family members also associated with L.P. Mays. Good thing that zoning transaction wasn't opposed like this one! This family has considered many options before trying to sell this land. The land has already been approved for commerical zoning. The proposal on the table is to change the zoning so that the multi-dwelling apartments can be developed. These are first class buildings similar to Brigham Woods. The article states that the residents are not opposed to a commercial business. I wonder if they mean that. All over the CSRA businessmen are selling and developing land for all types of housing and commerical reasons, why not this property too? Answer - Hill Creek residents! Marks Church Commons and the businesses around and across from Hill Creek have been there for well over 20 years. These homeowners were aware of the traffic situation when they purchased their homes. They also knew that it would be a possibility for this land to be sold and developed one day. I hate to see the commissioners of this county be "bullied" by these homeowners into getting their way. There are two sides to every story. I agree with pmccormick, it is sad that the reporter did not bother to get the other side of THIS story.

southern2
5942
Points
southern2 06/18/12 - 06:40 pm
3
1
To Letmejust say

The only ones doing the bullying is the developer with the "if you don't approve this complex we will take it to litigation" speech we heard in both the Planning and Zoning meeting and now the Commissioners have heard it. There are two lots in question here and they are not both zoned commercial. They already have commercial buildings on Hillcreek Dr and yes Hillcreek seems to get along just fine with them and the traffic. I do hope you realize that an 8am to 5pm traffic is much different than a residential round the clock traffic. To Countyman - According to the residents from Brookstone - they can't even keep a TV in their clubhouse due to the crime from Amli. The crime in this area has increased 100% or more since Amli was put in. The Japanese restaurant down Augusta West Pkwy has many patrons cars being broken in to when they park near the adjoining woods, etc. etc. You "drive in Amli and no one is outside"... did you go during the day... they are probably sleeping as many of them are walking Augusta West Pkwy when the sun goes down and on into the night....Once again, it's a shame that one of Augusta's great neighborhoods has to suffer for the pockets of Atlanta businessmen.

letmejustsay
36
Points
letmejustsay 06/18/12 - 06:15 pm
0
2
To southern2.... it is not

To southern2.... it is not just an Atlanta business to benefit from the zoning being approved, it is also a local family that might I say has lived in this area and been a part of this community a lot longer than you ever have. I can guarantee that. The commercial business that you claim you would be in favor of will make the traffic unbearable during the hours you are talking about. A very expensive traffic study has already stated that. If residential traffic is your concern then Hill Creek should never have been approved either! Hill Creek has many "influential" residents that will get this approved in their favor. It is the right of the developer to take it to litigation if necessary. Hill Creek timed this article just right. Too bad all the facts were not stated when the article was printed. I personally heard the Hill Creek spokeperson state that they did not want that "class" of people living near them and that was one of the main reasons they opposed this zoning, yet we are not allowed to refer to them as "snobs". This is a free country (the last time I checked) and people should be allowed to live where they want to live if they can afford it.

southern2
5942
Points
southern2 06/18/12 - 06:37 pm
2
1
First, letmejustsay, how

First, letmejustsay, how would you know how long my family has been part of this community? Second, pretty strong accusation being made against the Hillcreek spokesperson. I have attended all forums addressing this issue and have not heard any comments as you have insinuated. Yes, "A local family is benefiting" at the expense of many local families.

DMPerryJr
1698
Points
DMPerryJr 06/18/12 - 06:52 pm
0
0
Pool?

They gonna have a pool over there?

letmejustsay
36
Points
letmejustsay 06/18/12 - 07:41 pm
1
0
I was there during the last

I was there during the last zoning meeting. I heard this person say "class of people". It's not an accusation. It is a fact. Can get the transcript if you like.

letmejustsay
36
Points
letmejustsay 06/18/12 - 07:47 pm
1
0
And why shouldn't the family

And why shouldn't the family that owns the land benefit? That's their right as landowners too! It's called - free country - free enterprise. Hill Creek residents are not the only residents to ever have to deal with development and growth in their backyards. Look around.

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