Originally created 05/24/00

Panel approves proposal for Evans Town Center



After more than a month of work by a five-member committee of residents, an amended version of the Evans Town Center plan is ready to go before Columbia County commissioners in two weeks.

"This has been a process that has been very difficult at times," Commissioner Frank Spears said.

The county began looking at the concept of Evans Town Center in 1994, following a recommendation of the Growth Management Plan. The Evans Town Center plans - developed during nearly two years of public meetings - call for a mix of commercial, recreation and government uses to control growth and attract people.

The committee made several changes to the ordinance, including fine-tuning the tree ordinance and lessening some of the architectural requirements.

For Martha Beattie, the plans represent an effort to save the Evans area from some of the development "abominations" in other areas of Washington Road.

"It's honky tonk now," she said. "I don't want that here. I love this community."

Members of the county's Development and Environmental Services Committee approved the plans - pending some fine-tuning in several areas - Tuesday night.

The approval was made amid concerns raised by local developers and builders. Most of the complaints focused on a part of the ordinance requiring a certain number of trees for parking areas.

Ron Cross of CCI Construction - the company building the county's courthouse annex - said the requirements are too vague and should not apply to industrial property.

"I think that's the most illogical thing that's in here," he said.

Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115, or jbsmith@augustachronicle.com.