Rezoning meeting planned as first step for Appling hotel

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APPLING, Ga. (WJBF) – Some people who live, work and play in one Columbia County town share mixed feelings about a growing area. Next week, the planning commission will hear comments about rezoning a home for commercial property that could become a hotel.

It’d be a nightmare,” said Rick Jordan, of Columbia County. “There’s too much traffic. Traffic is slowing down now, but 4 or 5 o’clock. Forget about it.”

Amber Howell, of Appling, added, “I don’t want a hotel here. I like my town the way it is. I like being in the middle of nowhere. It’s why my parents moved out here. I’ve lived here since I was 3. I’m now 17.”

A parcel at 1803 Appling Harlem Road shows a planning commission sign announcing a public hearing next Thursday, November 4, to rezone a parcel of land with a house sitting on it to commercial property. NewsChannel 6 learned from the planning department that the request is for less than an acre. They released a statement saying in part that ‘The conceptual plan that has been submitted to go along with the item is for a hotel and small convenient store.’

“I guess it’s good because Amazon Plant, they need places. It’s going to grow up one day. It’s better than subdivisions,” Howell added.

White Oak Innovation Park is the latest development on the same road, near I-20. Robbie Bennet said because of that, the groundwork such as infrastructure is already in place as the county works through its Vision 2035 plan.

“As we look to the future, we will continue to plan outside of just the White Oak Business Park. And partner both with the county staff and other stakeholders,” said Bennett, Executive Director, Development Authority of Columbia County.

And as local people see more cars come and go, Bennett said the growth in that area will continue.

“You will continue to see natural growth happening at that interchange at exit 183, both north of the activity center and south of the activity center. That’s being driven by the market and the market demand,” he said.

Photojournalist: Gary Hipps

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