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NA city council approves legal action against Project Jackson plaintiffs

Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 6:51 PM
Last updated 9:33 PM

North Augusta City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday to authorize legal action in response to a lawsuit filed last week against the city.

Stephen Donohue and the River Club Homeowners Association filed a lawsuit against the city, the mayor and city council alleging, amongst other things, that an ordinance passed Nov. 18 to amend the local Tax Increment Financing ordinance to fund Project Jackson was invalid.

Project Jackson is a proposed $144 million riverfront development covering 25 to 30 acres that will feature a mixture of public and private investments, including a baseball stadium that will become the new home of the Augusta GreenJackets.

The resolution authorizes Mayor Lark Jones and City Administrator Todd Glover to take actions “to bring the litigation to a prompt conclusion in the city’s interest,” including answering the complaint as well as filing counterclaims and additional litigation against the plaintiffs.

“While it is not the desire of the City of North August to file a lawsuit against the River Club Homeowners Association (RCHOA), the recent action filed on behalf of the RCHOA forces the City to move to resolve this issue quickly so as to protect the sizeable investment that benefits our entire city and region,” according to a statement issued by city council. “While we realize that there are those in the RCHOA who oppose the lawsuit filed on their behalf, unfortunately they cannot be individually removed from the suit. It is our hope that this can be resolved as quickly as possible to allow the project to remain on track.”

If the plaintiffs dismiss their claims against the city, then the city will also dismiss any claims it has against the plaintiffs, according to the resolution.

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paulwheeler
122
Points
paulwheeler 12/17/13 - 08:53 pm
7
1
So the City Council and Mayor

So the City Council and Mayor of North Augusta are planning to use taxpayer money to strong arm a neighborhood association over this? Wow!

Gage Creed
16680
Points
Gage Creed 12/17/13 - 09:17 pm
6
1
So if RCHOA prevails,

So if RCHOA prevails, shouldn't the City, the Mayor and council members all be be financially liable?

Little Lamb
45223
Points
Little Lamb 12/17/13 - 11:51 pm
5
1
Bully

The city of North Augusta is going to sweat out the neighborhood association with bullying tactics that will wipe out their treasury and send the association into debt. Are there any wealthy citizens of North Augusta who will come to the aid of the neighborhood association? Are there any retired lawyers who will work for the neighborhood association pro bono?

i-feel-older-2day
72
Points
i-feel-older-2day 12/18/13 - 12:08 am
1
6
Why should a few withhold the

Why should a few withhold the ballpark and the riverfront development
from all by a law suit?

futureaugusta
28
Points
futureaugusta 12/18/13 - 12:40 am
1
7
The fact is that Steve

The fact is that Steve Donahue has been enjoying his moment in the spot light. His so called relevance as the "President of the River Club HOA" does not and should not carry any weight in the eyes of the City leaders when it comes to the greater good of North Augusta. Some of the River Club residents and its President do not like this project and this means it should not happen for the others in the City? This man proclaims to speak on behalf of the residents of the River Club but in fact there are many residents that do not agree with his views or this lawsuit. This lawsuit is frivolous at best and the arrogance that this man seems to carry is outstanding.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 12/18/13 - 07:35 am
0
0
I like the idea of project
Unpublished

I like the idea of project Jackson but if it were next door to me I'd have concerns as well.

seenitB4
85077
Points
seenitB4 12/18/13 - 08:41 am
2
4
So the fun begins

Don't you just love HOAs....nahhhhh.

pja5529
1553
Points
pja5529 12/18/13 - 09:50 am
1
4
Shortsightedness

Those who bought land on the river across from a downtown area and now want to complain about traffic, noise etc. weren't too bright when they made their home purchases.

grinder48
1877
Points
grinder48 12/18/13 - 10:11 am
0
0
The Real Reason
Unpublished

I have no dog in this hunt but think the real reason (or at least main reason) the River Club HOA is opposed is that the plans call for making that now small quite dead end road that runs next to the river right through the RC neighborhood into a wide thoroughfare connected to the Aiken Augusta Highway to carry the traffic for Project Jackson. That wasn't in the plans when they bought property there and would definitely be horribly detrimental to their neighborhood. I can't blame them for being upset, the city of NA isn't handling this right.

rmwhitley
5542
Points
rmwhitley 12/18/13 - 07:10 pm
0
0
Guess what
Unpublished

happens when politicians have control of YOUR money? Arrogance is the number 1 trait of politicians.

...point to ponder
743
Points
...point to ponder 12/19/13 - 12:20 am
3
0
.. a good lawsuit against North Augusta….

…it seems the elected officials in North Augusta have crossed the line.
They use to listen to their citizens and neighborhoods…and act accordingly.
Now they act in the developer's interests which ignores completely those who are most affected.

I believe the River Club suit has teeth.

Little Lamb
45223
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/13 - 08:43 pm
2
0
Referendum

I-feel-older-2day asked:

Why should a few withhold the ballpark and the riverfront development from all by a law suit?

Because the voters of Aiken County did not get a chance to vote up or down on whether to commit their tax dollars to such a project.

The deal was hatched in smoke-filled back rooms by slimy developers and corrupt politicians. The people had no say.

Roman_1
4
Points
Roman_1 07/25/14 - 01:00 pm
0
0
Project Jackson

We the voters elected North Augusta City officials to do a job, in my opinion they are doing it.
Most people that do not live in downtown North Augusta or keep up with all of the specifics of the city but only read what others such as Donohue post.
I researched North Augusta for over a year before purchasing my home here in 2006. I actually keep up with the monthly city meetings, economic changes for the area, and monitor property values/sales in the area.
The city officials, "my city officials" are doing an excellent job considering the recovering economy and current road blocks.
Most people do not realize that there has been "special tax treatment" for the downtown area for some time, the TIF is nothing new. Just how do you think the Hammonds Ferry development got started? How do you think the Greenway, new bank, Anytime Fitness, Antonio's, etc even got completed? If you are not suffering from short term memory you can easily remember the "blighted" eyesore that was there previously. This was all done through special funding, excellent city management, and proactive citizenship.
The city officials have done an outstanding job but still have much more to do. There are still many areas of the North Augusta downtown that are in need of attention. It is very easy to miss it when you drive across the bridge and see The River Club and Hammonds Ferry, and the improvements in the immediate downtown area. Drive further down Buena Vista "past" West Avenue and you will start seeing the foreclosures, the Section 8, the homes from the 40s and 50s that have seen property taxes increase but roads are still waiting to be paved. The crime that Mr. Donohue is unaware of, that is because he never comes to "that" side of the bridge. According to Aiken County tax records, Mr. Donohue's property taxes actually went down over the past tax season while the "other side" of the bridge taxes went up. The River Club actually has the benefit of seeing a higher that average police presence, unlike the "other side" of the bridge.
I suppose my point is that we as citizens of North Augusta, as well as our elected officials still have a great deal to do. As citizens we are to called to duty to elect the best people to represent us, make decisions for us, and maintain and grow this city into the very best it can be. Being a citizen of North Augusta and elect someone to take care of the headaches does not mean that we rest on our laurels while other do the work. We must stay involved, provide support, attend meetings, and be active in our role as citizens of North Augusta.

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