Originally created 06/04/99

Officials approve golf development



A planned golf course community on Columbia Road has cleared the Columbia County Planning Commission.

The Bartram Trail Club will have approximately 730 homes around an 18-hole semi-private golf course along Euchee Creek.

The club will be built on 900 acres that border Patriots Park near William Few Parkway and Columbia Road.

"We're very proud of what we've done," said Tommy Blanchard, president of Blanchard & Calhoun Real Estate and Euchee Creek Investors Inc. "We think it will be a tremendous asset for Columbia County."

On Thursday night, planning commissioners unanimously agreed to rezone the land from residential agricultural to planned unit development. The request must now go before the full county commission on June 15.

The property will eventually include a golf clubhouse and residential homes surrounding the course, including single family lots, estate lots, townhouses and patio homes. There is also land designated for professional and retail businesses and room for institutions -- church, day care, assisted living facility -- that might serve the community.

"We're not talking about a destination shopping area, but one that is designed to be convenient to the immediate area," Mr. Blanchard said.

But one area resident said the development would add too much traffic to William Few Parkway -- an already-overwhelmed two-lane road connecting Columbia Road to Washington Road and the Greenbrier schools.

"That area right now is dominated by rock trucks," said Carol Finch.

But Thomas Robertson of Cranston, Robertson & Whitehurst -- the Augusta engineering firm planning the development -- said the subdivision also has entrances on Hereford Farm Road and Columbia Road.

"I think this will sort of filter the traffic out," he said.

Another problem for the developers is building along Euchee Creek -- one of the largest drainage basins in the county. Mr. Blanchard said plans call for four ponds throughout the golf course to catch most of the runoff.

"These ponds will serve the dual purpose of not only stormwater detention and control but irrigation for the golf course as needed," he said.

Jason B. Smith covers government for The Augusta Chronicle's Columbia County Bureau. He can be reached at 868-1222, Ext. 115, or jbsmith@augustachronicle.com.