NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) – On Thursday, April 18, the North Augusta Planning Commission will consider a text amendment that some say would allow the City to be exempt from its own overlay district guidelines but officials say – not so fast.
“I think it’s an abuse of power,” North Augusta resident Ken Powell told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.
The City North Augusta thinking about its future. A text amendment to the City’s development code will essentially remove all public property from having to meet the requirements of the overlay district.
“I’m sure there have been people who wanted to build things in North Augusta and was told no, you have to comply now the City finds themselves where they have spent an exorbitant amount of money for this property and they did not do due diligence,” Powell said.
Powell has lived in North Augusta his entire life. He says when he attended a recent council meeting, he was concerned after hearing its members agreed to give the City Administrator authority to go to the commission to ask for the change.
“I think North Augusta is growing and North Augusta is growing fast and with fast growth comes responsible leadership and I think our city is finding itself where its playing catch up and they are trying to appease developers,” Powell added.
There are four overlay districts in the area and the goal of the overlay is to preserve the historic character of the neighborhood. But city officials say they are not just thinking about a new fire station to provide coverage to a larger portion of North Augusta but also resources for the next generation.
“But when you think about it, any piece of property the city owns is public property and putting restrictions on it to prevent public use complications issues,” Mayor Bob Petit said. “Suppose we wanted to put a water station, a water tower there we certainly couldn’t meet an overlay district requirement in terms of building footprint it’s a water tower,” he added.
Shawn I did try speaking with the Director of Planning and Development. Ms. Hodges told him where he was able to find the agenda for the meeting. However, she said she would not go on camera to address any types of concerns from residents.
Meanwhile, that meeting is April 18 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers.