Columbia County Planning Chair says research before you buy a home

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Tons of growth has come to Columbia County, but many homeowners don’t want it in their backyard.

Planning Commission Chair, Jim Cox, says, before blaming the county government, homeowners need to look at what has already been zoned.

“Since I’ve been on the planning commission, I’ve never seen us go in and re-zone and take away somebody’s zoning on something like this,” says Cox.

Cox is talking about the apartment complex under construction on Black Stone Camp Road.

Homeowners across the street are saying not in my backyard, but cox is telling county residents to take a look at the bigger picture before you move.

“Come to the planning and zoning office. Ask them to pull up that tract and show you what’s around it and if you got vacant space or you got commercial space that may be closed, ask them what the plans are for an area,” says Cox.

Blanchard and Calhoun’s Real Estate numbers say construction sale rates in the county have increased $20,000 dollars over the last four years.

It’s a sellers market which means it’s prime time for developers to make a profit.

The developer in River Island zoned that land back in 2002. Almost 18 years later, there is now a need.

“If we had the vision 2035 in place in 2002, they would have never gotten the apartments there. So, we’ve addressed that. Those apartments couldn’t happen like that again now,” says Cox.

The Vision 2035 Plan was established in 2016. In the plan, they discuss protecting already established neighborhoods and providing buffer standards between commercial properties and neighborhoods.

“I would say to work with the developer because the more they work with the developer, the better things are going to be,” says Cox.

Beyond working with the county, Cox says to contact the Board of Education. Find out if you’re on the border of a school zone that has potential to change.

He also advises you to look at traffic and accident rates by speaking to the Sheriff’s Office.

Look for any traffic projects by contacting Georgia Department of Transportation.

Commissioners will discussing the amount of units up for approval at the apartment complex across the street at the next commission meeting December 17th.

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