Development spurs concern

NORTH AUGUSTA --- Opponents of a proposed riverfront development in North Augusta pitched their case Monday to the mayor and city council.

Residents of River North subdivision told the council they feared the proposed Kingery Landing development would increase traffic congestion and lower their property values. Residents, such as J.J. Ford, asked the council to protect their investments.

"I was raised that the government was for the people and by the people," he said. "What do we have now?"

L.H. Simkins Jr. is seeking approval of Kingery Landing, a 30-acre neighborhood near the Fifth Street Bridge, with as many as 256 luxury apartments and about 40 single-family homes.

The Kingery Landing proposal is tied to a rezoning request by the developer of the adjacent River North community, who wants to develop 10 acres that would become part of that neighborhood.

Those plans also call for about 15 additional single-family houses and some commercial uses in River North.

The new neighborhood is on a landlocked parcel that would have to connect to U.S. Highway 1 by way of River North Drive.

River North residents said their neighborhood's entrance, which ties into the on ramp from the Fifth Street Bridge to U.S. 1 North, can't handle increased traffic demands.

A traffic study commissioned by the developers said the road could accommodate the increased traffic.

G.M. "Skip" Grkovic, the city's director of Economic and Community Development, said that state funding has been approved for interchange improvements at U.S. 1 and River North Drive.

He said there is about a 50 percent change the state will accept a bid for the project in March.

The Kingery Landing proposal will go before the city council for action Feb. 4.

Reach J. Scott Trubey at (706) 823-3424 or scott.trubey@augustachronicle.com.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

North Augusta officials will enter into talks with Augusta to potentially bring a portion of the race course into South Carolina during the 2008 Tour de Georgia.

Augusta City Administrator Fred Russell wrote North Augusta officials asking if they would be willing to allow riders to venture across the 13th Street bridge on April 22 for a four-mile circuit through the city. Augusta is the finishing point for the 122-mile second stage that will begin in Statesboro, Ga.

City leaders said timing and traffic concerns would dictate if they would allow the race to enter the city. A similar course has taken the race into South Carolina in past years.