Criticism of hotel plan delays vote

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Augusta commissioners postponed making a decision Tuesday on a rezoning request that would pave the way for a $30 million hotel in west Augusta in an effort to appease nearby residents opposed to the project.

Don Cheeks: Says the hotel planned for west Augusta will bring in as much as $1.75 million in tax money.  File/Staff
File/Staff
Don Cheeks: Says the hotel planned for west Augusta will bring in as much as $1.75 million in tax money.

Commissioners voted 8-2 for the developers and Curtis Baptist Foundation, which owns the property on Marks Church Road where a two-story Marriott Hotel would be built, to meet with residents of the Kingston subdivision and try to reach a compromise.

That was after a vote to approve the zoning change failed on a 5-4-1 vote, with Commissioner J.R. Hatney abstaining.

"It's hard to say no, and it's difficult to say yes," Mr. Hatney said before the vote.

A motion for the neighborhood to meet with the developers and report back May 6 passed with only commissioners Don Grantham and Jerry Brigham voting against it.

The Curtis Baptist Foundation must sell the 11.4 acres at 1128 Marks Church Road to pay off debt, said Don Cheeks, speaking on behalf of the foundation. Under the current zoning, another developer could build a seven-story apartment complex on the property.

Preston Johnson, speaking on behalf of the Kingston subdivision, said residents are concerned about noise, the height of the building and its proximity to homes. Mr. Cheeks and planning Commissioner George Patty said the hotel would not exceed 55 feet in height, whereas an apartment complex could be 155 feet high.

To concerns about people from the hotel jumping over a fence that would surround the hotel and into their neighborhood, Mr. Cheeks asked, "What person is going to pay $125 a night and jump a fence?"

He said the hotel would bring in as much as $1.75 million in tax money to Richmond County every year. As for a meeting with residents, he said he'd arranged one and only five people showed up.

In other action Tuesday, commissioners:

- Approved a request by the Downtown Development Authority to give up an alley at 840 Reynolds St. for a major hotel development over objections from businessmen Joe Smith and Joe Carswell, who own property that could become landlocked.

- Approved moving $2,000-a-year pay raises for public safety officials from Aug. 1 to May 1 and including 911 emergency employees.

- Heard a request from Jane Howington, the president of the Augusta Regional Library Board, not to spend another $450,000 for rate increases for Heery International employees overseeing construction of the public library. She said the project was being overseen by excellent architects and the money could be put to better use on the library's $3 million budget deficit.

Commissioners received her request as information, but later took no action on Heery's rate-increase proposal.

- Voted to give $1,000 for grills that would be given as prizes after being used to cook at the Angelic Community Resource Development Inc.'s Barber & Beauty Bar-B-Que. Only Mr. Brigham and Commissioner Joe Bowles voted against the motion.

- Sent a request from the Augusta Aviation Commission to increase the director's salary and hire a deputy director to committee for review. The director's salary would be increased to a range of $96,416 to $144,624 a year, or $18,000 to $27,000 more per year. The deputy director's annual salary range would be from $87,015 to $130,532.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (15) Add comment
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patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 04/16/08 - 06:06 am
0
0
Our big hopes for an improved

Our big hopes for an improved commission sure don't seem to be panning out, do they?

daMan
0
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daMan 04/16/08 - 06:40 am
0
0
Has it not been Curtis

Has it not been Curtis Baptist standing in the way of new buisness in downtown Augusta? New buisness that would bring tax money to Richmond County.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 04/16/08 - 06:45 am
0
0
Hmmm a 2 story Marriott
Unpublished

Hmmm a 2 story Marriott Hotel.... or a 7 story Apartment Building... Which would probably help property values in the area..... DUH

WHATDIDIDO
0
Points
WHATDIDIDO 04/16/08 - 07:35 am
0
0
What, no complaints about the

What, no complaints about the $1,000.00 in taxpayers money for grills?

john
993
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john 04/16/08 - 08:05 am
0
0
I will complain Hypo. Is the

I will complain Hypo. Is the commission in the business of donating to charity now? Can't that organization have a car wash or something?

jackfruitpaper833
41
Points
jackfruitpaper833 04/16/08 - 08:08 am
0
0
There you go Bowles another

There you go Bowles another VOTE Against something targeting the black community.

dani
12
Points
dani 04/16/08 - 08:33 am
0
0
HYPO...After reading

HYPO...After reading jackfruit, that might change. A mean, negative remark when none was due.

pav2003
0
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pav2003 04/16/08 - 10:37 am
0
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Has Johnny Hatney ever voted

Has Johnny Hatney ever voted on anything is his life since being in this elected position to represent the people? All I ever see is that he "abstained." (???)... He is not needed if this is all that he can do!!! P'lease.... "it's difficult to say yes and it's difficult to say no." Give this man a pair of flip flops!!!

DuhJudge
206
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DuhJudge 04/16/08 - 10:59 am
0
0
Good Lord they pay people

Good Lord they pay people good in Richmond County. Especially if you get a job with an Assistant and manage money pits.

pja5529
1917
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pja5529 04/16/08 - 11:12 am
0
0
Patricia, the commission is a

Patricia, the commission is a lot better this year. What do you expect for them to do, agree 100% on everything?

pav2003
0
Points
pav2003 04/16/08 - 11:14 am
0
0
I agree, duhjudge. Can we

I agree, duhjudge. Can we all agree that Mr. Hatney owes us to render a vote in his life???

pav2003
0
Points
pav2003 04/16/08 - 11:18 am
0
0
I agree, duhjudge. Can we

I agree, duhjudge. Can we all agree that Mr. Hatney owes us to render a vote??? Otherwise, what does he do for us???

426Hemi
0
Points
426Hemi 04/16/08 - 11:19 am
0
0
Anything for money! Grills?

Anything for money! Grills? My assumption was a set of "grills" for the dentured-challenged folks in this area. Oh, GRILLS-the cookin' ones. My fault. I'd be more concerned about upstanding thugs jumping the fence at the chance of beleaguring the hotel guests! jp833, I would assume if used grills were given away to the "black community" that would be considered, in your view, "racist" because they're not NEW, and you'd find that "we" think ya'll like BBQ, and wear grills. It's a no-win proposition with forward-thinkers such as yourself.

jackfruitpaper833
41
Points
jackfruitpaper833 04/16/08 - 11:22 am
0
0
426Hemi ok... and hmmmmm

426Hemi ok... and hmmmmm ok... Happy Birthday Ms. Laney WE LOVE YOU....

imdstuf
10
Points
imdstuf 04/16/08 - 11:22 am
0
0
Just what we need, another

Just what we need, another hotel. These hotel developers think about all the money they can make Master's Week. The thing is, by the poor business they get the rest of they hear it equals out to mean Augusta is not really a great market for hotels. Either new hotels fail, or they cause some older ones to fail. Either way, its not like we end up with more business, just different business often times. There is probably more demand for apartments.

Little Lamb
46052
Points
Little Lamb 04/16/08 - 01:57 pm
0
0
Let's see; the Angelic

Let's see; the Angelic Community Resource Development Inc. is going to have a bash called the Barber & Beauty Bar-B-Que. That sounds nice. But they want the Augusta taxpayer to throw in with them. That's not nice. There is a homeowner's association in my neighborhood, and we were such saps that we paid for our own bar-b-que. I guess we should ask the Commission for funds next year. Hats off to Jerry Brigham and Joe Bowles for being responsible Commissioners.

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