William Newby and B.H. Borger have lived across from one another on Sir Galahad Drive for years.
Thursday night, they asked Columbia County Planning Commissioners to rezone their homes for commercial use. Both men said the development along Washington Road in Evans has rendered their Camelot subdivision homes useless for anything except a business.
"Who's going to buy (my house) as a residential property with that pollution problem and that noise problem?" Mr. Newby asked planning commissioners.
Planning commissioners unanimously denied the requests. Both requests will now go before the full county commission where a final decision likely will be made later this month.
"The rezoning of this property could result in a significant change in the appearance of the entrance of the subdivision," said Planning and Zoning Director Kendal Jones.
More than 150 residents from several subdivisions, including Camelot and Country Place, turned out to protest the requests. The rezonings, they said, would severely devalue their property values and create even more traffic in the area.
"If these two lots are zoned commercial or professional, the next lots in will have to endure the traffic and pollution from them," said Tamara Medeiros. "Then they'll want to be rezoned too. It will keep moving into the subdivision until there is no longer a subdivision."
But Mr. Newby said he shouldn't be required to serve as a buffer between the commercial property that already surrounds the subdivision and the rest of the homes.
"At night, I can read a newspaper by the light from the Shell station across the road," he said.
Mr. Borger agreed.
"Living where I'm living right now is a terror," he said. "You cannot get a good night's sleep."
Charles Garner said he understands the requests, but doesn't support them.
"I'm certainly not against progress," he said. "The only problem we have here is, where does the progress stop?"
Thursday's request was not the first for Mr. Newby. He sued Columbia County in 1993 after planning commissioners and county commissioners denied his rezoning application. The suit was denied by the Georgia Supreme Court. Mr. Newby also was denied a rezoning on the land in 1995.
Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115.