Riverfront apartments blocked

NORTH AUGUSTA --- The North Augusta City Council listened to the pleas of River North residents Monday night and denied a request by developers to build apartments along the Savannah River.

The 4-3 vote against Kingery Landing, which would have had a 256-unit complex and about 40 single-family houses, followed a marathon six-hour session that stretched until 1 a.m. Tuesday. Council members Jimmy Adams, Carolyn Baggott, Pat Carpenter and Ken McDowell voted against the measure. Mayor Lark Jones and councilmen Arthur Shealy and Jason Whinghter sided with the developers.

River North residents opposed to the plans filled most of the 65-seat council chamber and spoke about the potential damage to wetlands and wildlife habitat and increased traffic along the busy U.S. Highway 1 interchange near the Fifth Street bridge.

They also implored council members not to approve apartments along a "gateway" into North Augusta. River North resident Tanya Jeffords said there were better uses for the land and that developers should "go back to the drawing board."

"This is not about River North; this is about North Augusta and our riverfront," she said.

The Kingery Landing plans were tied to a rezoning request and development plans by the developer of River North.

The River North plans include as many as 15 houses, commercial uses and a new road to connect River North Drive to the landlocked Kingery Landing tract. The rezoning request, including plans for the connector road, commercial space and five houses, was tentatively approved, but nine River North house sites included in plans for Kingery Landing shared the fate of the apartment complex.

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

WHAT'S NEXT?

The North Augusta City Council will hold second and third readings on the River North portion of the development plan Feb. 18 and March 3.