Plans move forward to build a shopping center near the West Lake neighborhood

CSRA News

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – There is a possibility of more buildings going up near the West Lake neighborhood.

A more than five-acre lot on West Lake Commons Drive off of Furys Ferry Road may soon be rezoned by Columbia County commissioners.

“When you compare what’s already approved versus what I’m proposing, there’s no negatives. It’s all going in the right direction,” said the developer, Rafy Bassali.

Rafy Bassali wants to build a new shopping center on the land that would be similar to Augusta’s Surrey Center.

Bassali said, “It’s not a big place. We could’ve definitely got a lot more density if we wanted but I think this is what people want is outdoor space and to utilize space close to where they live. So I think this is what people will want in the future.”

Local developer hoping to build new shopping center near the West Lake neighborhood

Thursday, the Columbia County Planning Commission approved Bassali’s rezoning request that paves the way for construction. The request was tabled last month. 

“All the concerns will be worked out in the next year or so,” said Bassali.

Several people who live in West Lake told the planning commission and NewsChannel 6 they are concerned about stormwater issues worsening. 

During Thursday’s meeting, Columbia County Director of Engineering Services Kyle Titus informed the planning commission, “We looked at their regional 10% rule application, it shows there are no adverse impacts to the downstream property owners with or without a pond.”

According to Bassali, the shopping center will only be operational during certain hours and he hopes a local coffee shop or health food store with a drive-thru will open up on the property. 

Bassali added, “I haven’t said yes to anybody because I wanted approval before so I know exactly what I’m offering them but those conversations will get a little more serious starting now.”

The rezoning request for Bassali’s property will go before the Columbia County Commission on October 19th for final approval.

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