Trolley Run to add apartments

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AIKEN - The county council completed its push Wednesday to amend an ordinance that allowed changes to a new development in Graniteville.

The amended ordinance will increase the density of a section of Trolley Run Station, a FineDeering Development Group project of about 3,600 homes, to permit the construction of apartments in part of the subdivision.

The county council passed first reading of the ordinance March 20 and second reading the following morning.

According to state law, at least seven days must pass between second and third reading of an ordinance.

Richard Fine, co-chairman of FineDeering, said a closing with another builder, which is scheduled for today, hinged on the changes to the planned unit development.

However, he said, the company was not seeking special treatment to accelerate the amendments to the ordinance.

"As a taxpayer we feel like we have a right to ask for something," he said.

The amendments also increased the open space to 25 percent of the property, raised the building height to 18 feet and increased the side setback in certain sections to 10 feet.

Mr. Fine and council members spent considerable time discussing performance bonds, which are issued by an insurance company to guarantee satisfactory completion of a project by a contractor.

But Lawrence Brown, the assistant county attorney, said, "All the roads except one that we're dealing with for these bonds are completed. If everything is complete and accepted, they don't need a performance bond to get plat approval."

Councilwoman Kathy Rawls said it was important to expedite the process.

"The sooner these (homes) go on the books for taxes, it benefits the county," she said.

Councilman Gary Bunker said he supported the changes to the development. However, he said, he was troubled by making a special exception to the council's normal procedures.

He said other developers also might have appreciated "an eight-day turnaround on three readings."

Mr. Bunker also said this should be the last time the council makes special allowances, or it should allow special readings for everyone.

The county council approved the ordinance by an 8-0 vote. Councilman Willar Hightower was out of town.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (803) 648-1395, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.

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