Columbia County, at least as residents of the CSRA know it, is over.
Its reputation as a bedroom-community haven for achievement-oriented middle-class families has been weakened during the past decade by a proliferation of “affordable” high-density developments, such as patio homes, duplexes and apartments.
Now, the commission’s rubber-stamp approval of a 50-home development designed for welfare recipients in the heart of Martinez, to be called Magnolia Trace, effectively drives a stake in heart of a community that people could once call “a nice place to live.”
Contrary to the arrogant assertions of Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross and District 2 Commissioner Trey Allen – two men who now, rightly, find themselves in hot water for letting this happen under their watch – this project will not be a “positive” for the surrounding area. It will, in fact, lower surrounding property values, increase crime, decrease the quality of neighborhood schools and bring cultural blight to an area where the shared values have been pride, productivity and prosperity.
This is precisely what welfare housing does. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. sociologist to see what subsidy housing does to once-stable communities. It’s a common scenario that has played out across the nation and, as residents of our own metro area know, throughout Augusta. How can anyone think this project will be “different” when it requires residents to not only have but maintain a low income as a condition of tenancy?
The actions of Cross, Allen and any officials in local government who allowed this project through without so much of a whimper of debate are incompetent at best and, at worst, morally reprehensible.
Keep backpedaling and sidestepping from your cocoons in West Lake and Springlakes. Nothing – not your smooth talk, your high-powered friends or your apologists in the Columbia County media – will make me forgive or forget this abomination you have wrought upon the community.