Originally created 08/08/99

Zoning request opposed

AIKEN -- Nearly 300 people have signed petitions opposing development of a 33-acre tract of land on the edge of Aiken's horse district.

It's deja vu for the owner, Elise Faulkner, who faced similar opposition in 1990 and 1991 when she tried to develop the property she inherited west of Powder House Road.

Her latest request comes up for a public hearing Monday night before Aiken City Council, which requires annexation before providing water and sewer services to new developments.

The request includes a zoning designation that would allow construction of a planned unit-development of 168 townhouses, duplexes and single-family homes.

Residents of neighborhoods near Powder House Road say it can't handle the increased traffic such a development would generate. Members of Aiken's influential horse industry say it would adversely affect the training of high-strung thoroughbreds in the district where stables and training grounds are concentrated.

Mrs. Faulkner contends that those forces have kept her from deriving any profit from her land but have never offered to buy it themselves to protect it from development.

The public hearing is expected to dominate the council session, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building on Park Avenue. It's the fourth item on a short agenda that includes no other volatile business.

Among those matters, the council will hold a public hearing on amending the city's budget as it does at the end of every fiscal year. The shifts accommodate expenditures for projects approved in one fiscal year and paid for in the next.

Margaret N. O'Shea covers the city of Aiken for The Augusta Chronicle. She can be reached at (803) 279-6895 or scbureau@augustachronicle.com.


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