Before a full chamber of mostly retirement-age homeowners and residents of Hillcreek, The Meadows at Hillcreek and Nevis Townhomes, the commission voted 10-0 to deny the proposal.
The denial came despite the promise of more than $250,000 in new property tax revenue by Jim Trotter, the attorney for the Leonard P. Mays family, which owns the 16.87 acre tract.
Trotter said the property’s use for an upscale apartment complex in an area already replete with housing developments would actually create less traffic than if used under its existing zoning for offices. Several in the audience laughed.
“It is a $24 million project,” Trotter said. “I could pack the room with construction workers (and others) who would have benefited.”
Rosalyn Floyd, an Augusta State University music professor acting as spokeswoman for those in opposition, said residents worried about additional traffic from the complex “coming and going at all times of the day or night.”
Floyd said she had long enjoyed the privacy of the townhouse that she and her husband purchased nearly 20 years ago, despite knowing the Mays property eventually would be developed into office buildings.
“We depend on you, our county commissioners, to protect our property values,” she said.
The message resonated with Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles, who said his mother lived in the community after his father died. He moved to deny the zoning request.
In another matter Tuesday, the commission, after a closed-door meeting with attorneys, voted to purchase several tracts in the 3000 block of Tobacco Road for $278,000 from owner the H.A. Boswell Family Limited Partnership.
The lots, for which Augusta will be be reimbursed, will become the site of a filling station dispensing compressed natural gas that is part of the city’s new solid-waste collection contract, according to Commissioner Jerry Brigham.
Also approved after the closed-door meeting was a $3,462 settlement in a 2008 lawsuit filed by Robert Mullins and the Association for Fair Government against the city for its denial of an open-records request to inspect bid estimates received by informal bid selection, sole source procurement and emergency procurement processes.