Choose smart growth

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Back in 2005, when Columbia County officials and experts were crafting an update to its Growth Management Plan, participants at a public meeting were asked to rank, by priority, 10 ideas on how the plan should be reshaped.

By an overwhelming number of votes, residents said the top priority must be "finding the right place for multifamily housing, industrial and commercial development."

The people have spoken. Columbia Countians want smart growth.

And a proposed development adjacent to the new Blanchard Woods Park isn't it.

A rezoning request put before the Columbia County Commission in November asked for 27 acres to be cleared for commercial development, and about another seven acres for professional use.

When nearby residents caught wind of that, the owners -- Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard, Joe E. Blanchard and Billie June Morgan -- scaled back their request. They took the seven acres off the table, and now ask that the 27 remaining acres be rezoned professional.

Hopefully, this request will be withdrawn altogether.

The most compelling reason is because the request doesn't mesh at all with the county's Growth Management Plan or zoning code. It meets no criteria for approval, and the county's planning commission rightly voted to deny the request.

Of course, the county commission can go against the planning board's recommendation. But why would it? If commissioners go against the growth plan, why even bother having one?

The plan is in place to make sure that the county can grow intelligently while maintaining the quality of life residents enjoy. The last thing Blanchard Woods Park needs is exposure to increased noise, traffic and unsightly suburban sprawl that is sure to come if this rezoning is approved.

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Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 12/13/07 - 08:52 am
0
0
Nice try. It is all about

Nice try. It is all about what the developers want-not the public. Get use to the sprawl. Your quiet neighborhood is fixing to get busy. Happened to me. Didn't like it much either.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 12/13/07 - 09:01 am
0
0
Money talks and big money

Money talks and big money talks big. If you don't want the development to take place, buy the land and put something else on it. Otherwise, money talks....

doubt-it
0
Points
doubt-it 12/13/07 - 10:30 am
0
0
People in Columbia County

People in Columbia County don't know what smart growth is. It is the development of dense urban projects within already developed areas, for the purpose of better utilizing infrastructure and reducing impact on rural land. However, the only residential projects gaining approval are those slash and burn single family subdivisions on timber tracts. The opposite of smart growth. The mob rule approach to land use!

leegoolsby
0
Points
leegoolsby 12/13/07 - 11:10 am
0
0
Thanks for supporting the

Thanks for supporting the people here. So many issues with this proposed rezoning. It goes against the Growth Management Plan, it goes against the residential nature of Blanchard Road, it goes against the wish of our Planning and Development department, it goes against the vote of our Planning Commissioners, etc... Another huge proplem with this rezoning is that it is purely speculative. The county highly discourages speculative zoning, and rightfully so. Failure to deny this would have negative impact on all communities in Columbia County. It opens other communities up for such rezoning and spoils a multi-million dollar tax payer investment we call Blanchard Woods Park. I trust our commissioners will do the right thing and deny this rezoning.

Little Lamb
46405
Points
Little Lamb 12/13/07 - 02:32 pm
0
0
Does anybody remember when

Does anybody remember when the Augusta Commission voted against the Richmond County P&Z recommendation regarding the Walton Way property to be developed by Forum Investments? The developer sued and Judge Fleming ruled that the Commission did not have the authority to vote against the P&Z recommendation. The Commission, rather than challenge the ruling, kowtowed to Forum and granted the re-zoning request. Now more than a year later, there still is no shopping center on the property. Speculation, Speculation, Speculation is the name of the game around here.

wildman
1142
Points
wildman 12/13/07 - 06:05 pm
0
0
Remember who's in charge of

Remember who's in charge of the commission, Ron "Double" Cross. Columbia County is way down the road to ruin because of development, try to drive in the Washington/Belair Rd. area. Keep your fingers crossed the commission will do the right thing and vote NO!

bigalsc
4
Points
bigalsc 12/13/07 - 09:00 pm
0
0
The Walton Way property was

The Walton Way property was already zoned commercial. Shades of the bookstore debacle. What Columbia County residents are seeking is better defined as controlled, orderly growth, not Smart Growth

Little Lamb
46405
Points
Little Lamb 12/14/07 - 10:31 am
0
0
Absolutely not, BigAl! The

Absolutely not, BigAl! The Walton Way property was zoned R-1 and was surrounded by single family homes on three sides (one side fronted I-20). That's why forum had to ask for a re-zoning petition, to change from R-1 to commercial. Looks like no development has occurred to date.

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