AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — A North Augusta-native is bringing a new housing development to a historic part of Aiken County. It’s a community where residents’ needs will be met in one area.
“It’ll be a nice thing to have over there. Have something to look beside these trees,” Milo Brown told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk about the new plans. The trees in front of Milo Brown’s home will be removed and the Weeping Willows in their place. The plantation turned to a dairy farm that will now include single-family homes, townhomes, trails, and other options, including anchor stores. It’s on 174-acres off of Old Aiken Road and Jefferson Davis Highway.
“I can ride my bike over there,” Brown added. “As far as shopping goes, it would bring about convenience,” Brandon Johnson said.
Last October, the Planning Commission approved a zoning change to bring the community to the area. “My company, Turner Development, really wanted to this project to be not just to be a normal track, large development, but ideally a traditional neighborhood development where basically when you are in this community, it’s a closed niche feeling of a traditional neighborhood,” CEO of Turner Development, LLC Tracey Turner said.
With growth comes traffic and concerns that the large neighborhood could make it worse. Brandon Johnson says that it could be a good idea, but his opinions are up in the air. “Depending on how everything goes, be more traffic that’ll come through,” he said. “That would also cause more noise and more, just an abundance of everything that you wanna move out of the inner city for, but it could also build up the area. It would be good for North Augusta,” he said.
Turner says he and his team completed a traffic study to determine potential traffic problems. The analysis shows Jefferson Davis Highway is a busy intersection. “The traffic study did not show very huge impacts of the current area, but we do have to increase some turning lanes on Jeff Davis Highway,” Turner said. According to the current master plan, there will be three entrances on the old Aiken Road and one major entrance on Jefferson Davis Highway. Developers will renovate the current historic buildings on the site.
Construction of the homes will start about two years. Sewer, water, utilities, and road work are expected within weeks.
The Weeping Willows property is not the first development for Turner’s company, but it is the largest one. Turner Development, LLC was started in 2016 in Washington, D.C. Turner was originally a federal computer programmer then started in construction. Then he acquired several properties. Afterward, he came back to South Carolina to purchase the plantation property. “I think it just speaks volumes that you could come back to your hometown and develop it and create a footprint,” he said.
Meanwhile, Brown says he’s ready for something to be done with the property. “It’ll be a nice place to have something over there, but someone has to look at it. Somebody to develop it. That’s what it’s over there for,” he said.