County shifts zone that will guide development

THE ISSUE

Columbia County officials expect a four-way intersection at Columbia Road and William Few Parkway, created by an extension of William Few Parkway south to Chamblin Road, will be ripe for development.

To more adequately guide that development, county planners moved an existing perimeter for commercial development, called a node, 1,750 feet west to encompass the new intersection.

THE LATEST

The county commission approved moving the node Tuesday. The planning commission recommended the move June 5, though Planning and Development Director Jeff Browning knew of no immediate plans to develop the area around the intersection.

Mr. Browning said it's best to move the node now to give planning commissioners guidelines for potential development.

THE EXTENSION

County officials are negotiating the purchase of rights of way to extend William Few Parkway to Chamblin Road. The $2 million project is meant to ease traffic in the area once Grovetown High School opens in August 2009, Construction and Maintenance Services Director Scott Herring said this month.

The state Transportation Department also plans to extend William Few Parkway east to Hardy McManus Road as part of a $23.7 million project.

THE NODE

In the county's Growth Management Plan, nodes are separated into tiers and designate areas for commercial development. The Bartram Trail Node, the one realigned Tuesday, is a tier 2 node, which are about a half-mile in diameter.

Typically placed at major intersections, nodes are meant to lessen sprawl by concentrating growth in centralized locations. Other tier 2 nodes include the area surrounding the intersection of William Few Parkway and Washington Road, the intersection of Baston and Furys Ferry roads, and the intersection at Columbia and Belair roads. An example of a tier 1 node is Evans Town Center, the area around the Washington and Belair roads intersection.

-- Columbia County Bureau Chief Donnie Fetter