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South Carolina Circuit Court judge rules in favor of Project Jackson in North Augusta

Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014 4:06 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 12:36 AM
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North Augusta’s Project Jackson is moving forward.

FILE/STAFF
After over 12 public meetings, the approval of three local governments and now an expansive review by the courts, it is our hope that the city will now be able to move forward with this exciting project,” said North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover.

South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Ernest Kinard ruled in favor of the city in a lawsuit challenging a riverfront development that includes a new baseball stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets, according to North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover.

“The City of North Augusta is pleased with the ruling from Judge Kinard,” Glover said in a statement. “The judge found that the city followed the law in every detail in pursuing the project. After over 12 public meetings, the approval of three local governments and now an expansive review by the courts, it is our hope that the city will now be able to move forward with this exciting project.”

Kinard’s order was not filed Tuesday with the Aiken County Clerk of Court. Glover said Kinard informed attorneys for both sides of the lawsuit of his decision on Monday, but the city does not have a signed order yet.

Kelly Zier, an attorney for the city, said copies of the order were likely in the mail.

Stephen Donohue, a North Augusta homeowner who opposes the site for a new GreenJackets stadium, sued the city in December, claiming the city violated the state’s Tax Increment Financing law when it created an ordinance to fund the project.

He said there was no evidence to support the development area as blighted, a requirement for a TIF district.

Kinard heard arguments in the trial on July 18 in Aiken County. Both sides were asked to submit proposals on what the ruling should be.

Project Jackson is a proposed $144 million development that also includes a hotel, conference center and retail and residential space.

Belton Zeigler, an attorney representing North Augusta in the lawsuit, said he wasn’t surprised by the judge’s decision, which showed the city followed the TIF statute during public hearings and other proceedings.

“We always had a great deal of confidence in our case. It was a case that we had all the facts and all the laws on our side,” he said. “North Augusta is moving ahead. The developer is 100 percent behind the project.”

Donohue has 30 days to file a notice of appeal, Zeigler said.

Comments (17) Add comment
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triscuit
3266
Points
triscuit 08/19/14 - 03:23 pm
5
2
Would anyone surprised,

Would anyone surprised, please raise their hand? Anyone, anyone?

harleyd
9
Points
harleyd 08/19/14 - 03:55 pm
7
2
Project Jackson

Not at all. WHO told Todd Glover that North Augusta was pleased with the ruling. I'M North Augusta and I'm NOT pleased at all. Noise, trash, traffic, people having an "excuse" to roam the neighborhood. What's there to be pleased about??? Money talks.....js

stampman79
13
Points
stampman79 08/19/14 - 04:07 pm
7
1
Project Jackson

Those who live in North Augusta like me who oppose this project should remember to vote out the mayor and city council in the next election.

jimmymac
47789
Points
jimmymac 08/19/14 - 04:24 pm
0
0
STAMPMAN79
Unpublished

The problem with that and I agree with you by the way is that most will whine about this but few will actually get off their collective rear ends and do something. Politicians know that most voters are guilty of apathy and they count on that come election time.

SimpleGirl
902
Points
SimpleGirl 08/19/14 - 05:19 pm
3
1
Agree with all above!

I'm so saddened by this. So many loved going to Brick Pond Park, enjoying the peaceful environment, wildlife and scenery. Guess the big guys couldn't figure out a way to make money off of it so now it must go. I'm sure there will be no peace when its all done. Our quaint little town will be no longer. The wildlife will lose their homes. Why is everything about money.....greed. Keep it up NA officials, this little town will soon be nothing more than a circus!

Angelo298
243
Points
Angelo298 08/19/14 - 05:36 pm
0
0
Follow the Money!

this was said long ago and is still true today.

corgimom
38547
Points
corgimom 08/19/14 - 06:06 pm
3
2
I'm so sorry to see this

I'm so sorry to see this happen to my beloved North Augusta.

SRD
472
Points
SRD 08/19/14 - 07:34 pm
3
5
Hurrah

I for one am pleased! You go North Augusta.... North Augusta will grow and move forward. There will be jobs, jobs, jobs. Entertainment and Revenue while the city of Augusta rots, rots, rots...

corgimom
38547
Points
corgimom 08/19/14 - 08:02 pm
4
3
All of us moved to North

All of us moved to North Augusta because it WASN"T like Augusta.

LeConteSkier
567
Points
LeConteSkier 08/19/14 - 08:36 pm
2
5
North Augusta will be awesome

Donohue! Give it up! If you want quiet and limited development move to River Wood!

corgimom North Augusta is progressing nicely and was always destine to be a resort and tourist area. Hampton Terrance started that until the fire. So this development will allow the developers and owners of Hampton Terrance to smile down on the city as their dream in an indirect way is being fulfilled of making North Augusta a world class resort type area. Like Greenville nature and urban development will coexist and blend nicely here with city life at your fingertips but a quick escape to nature is a jog or kayak away. If you want to fast forward to Summer of 2017 in North Augusta, drive to Greenville's West End District. The ballpark surrounded by shops, (nice) bars and restaurants with condos overlooking the vibrant area will be a great preview of what is to come in North Augusta. I hope the new hotel will take on the character and architectural appearance of the Hampton Terrace Hotel as a way of preserving the past.

http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/picturingaugusta/aep028.php

AutumnLeaves
10317
Points
AutumnLeaves 08/19/14 - 08:36 pm
4
1
I asked my son why he moved

I asked my son why he moved to North Augusta, SC, he said that it is because it isn't Augusta, GA.

yellajacket
12
Points
yellajacket 08/19/14 - 08:37 pm
4
5
Hurrah! for NA

Corgimom, please move back to Augusta! Donohue, if you want the river to yourself, I feel sure there is some riverfront property down in Allendale County that you can purchase. This will be awesome for NA! Its going to be great to attend ball games on the river! Congrats to the Mayor, City Council, and the majority of NA citizens who want Project Jackson!

bdouglas
5777
Points
bdouglas 08/19/14 - 10:40 pm
4
2
@SimpleGirl

I don't know where you got your info, but Brick Pond Park isn't going anywhere with or without this new development.

...point to ponder
779
Points
...point to ponder 08/20/14 - 08:04 am
3
1
Sad day in baseball history for Augusta, Ga

According to the Augusta Chronicle, Augusta had its first team in 1885 with the Browns.

Now after 129 years of baseball in Augusta...it ends with the Augusta Greenjackets in 2014/15!

Thanks go to our Mayor Deke and our Governor for nothing--no back bone ---no guts---no fight--not a clue! To lose Cal Ripken and the Green Jackets is a feather in your cap!

I would also be remiss if I did not extend the thanks to our County Commission who just don't get it either. They have no clue as to the asset they ignore in our downtown.

But I can truthfully say that with Mayor Deke's and others lackluster performance they have forever gone down as the folks who did nothing to fight to keep the great American past time alive and well in Augusta, Ga! The Mayor and his team lost the big game!

Way to go team Augusta!!!!

raul
5749
Points
raul 08/20/14 - 09:36 am
4
0
I would like to hear in

I would like to hear in detail how the judge ruled that the area was in fact blighted.

Proud2Serve
418
Points
Proud2Serve 08/20/14 - 11:58 am
1
0
baseball

I'm just glad the ball team is staying in the CSRA. The minor league games are one of the few positives (And only sports) we have remaining.

bdouglas
5777
Points
bdouglas 08/20/14 - 11:58 am
3
0
@raul

I don't think it matters since it was, in fact, at one time designated as blighted. The wording of the statement says, "The judge found that the city followed the law in every detail in pursuing the project." The property had been designated as blighted before Hammond's Ferry existed, and as such, the law *technically* was followed in the pursuit of the project. Whether or not it could still be considered blighted I don't think matters when it comes to the courts and law. They can't rule on grey areas, and since it's in black and white as being blighted from the most recent designation, that's all the basis they can legally rule on. Think about it as someone with a diploma or a degree. You might know that the person is as dense as a brick and as dumb as one, too. But that doesn't negate the fact that they have it in writing that they graduated. Unfortunate as it may be, that's all that can be done.

grinder48
2057
Points
grinder48 08/20/14 - 03:07 pm
0
0
bdouglas
Unpublished

So let me get this BD. At one time, Times Square in NYC was a squalid dump ... a.k.a., blighted. Over the years it changed into what it is today, highly developed real estate worth billions if not more. But because it was once blighted, it's always blighted?

grinder48
2057
Points
grinder48 08/20/14 - 03:18 pm
0
0
Ingress & Egress
Unpublished

I don't live in NA so I'm not taking sides but ingress and egress to Proj Jaxon appears to be a major major problem. I hope that's well thought out and planned because it going to be a huge pain in the bohonkus to the little neighborhoods around Buena Vista and to Hammond's Ferry. And it will be a travesty if they open that little residential street Shoreline Drive that runs along the river through River Club, it's too small to carry any but minimal traffic and can't be widened. Just looks like a boondoggle to me.

grinder48
2057
Points
grinder48 08/20/14 - 03:27 pm
0
0
Follow the $
Unpublished

Wouldn't it be interesting to be able to see what properties Zeir, Glover, Ziegler, Lark Jones et al own around the area of PJ? Of course not directly in their names, slicksters hide behind LLCs, family connections, etc. And I like that Glover said, "After 12 public meetings ... " That's suppose to give the impression that those meeting supported PJ when, in fact, they were, "Here's what we're going to ram down your throat" meetings ...

bdouglas
5777
Points
bdouglas 08/20/14 - 09:51 pm
2
0
And according to the new

And according to the new article posted this evening I must've been right. "Kinard said findings of blight were established in 1996 when the TIF district was adopted, and law does not require additional or updated findings to revise the development plan and financing terms."

mike1sc
217
Points
mike1sc 08/21/14 - 06:33 am
2
1
This is a Positive Step for North Augusta

I moved here from Denver, Colorado in 1997, purchased a home, and retired here in 2005. I have watched North Augusta officials steer this beautiful little town through significant growth in those 17 years, and I am not the only one who thinks they have done an outstanding job. It seems there are a number of people who are so used to Richmond County officials bickering all the time and making fools of themselves, that they thought North Augusta officials were going to give them a similar type show as Project Jackson was proposed. Well, sorry you didn't get any of that. If you actually read the 14 page Order from South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Ernest Kinard (Case No. 2013-CP-02-02781), it becomes obvious that North Augusta officials followed the stated law line by line, which left the court no option except to rule in favor of North Augusta. Now it is time to look forward to North Augusta making more progress as this very exciting project moves forward. Congrats North Augusta!

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