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Traffic, buffers worry Old Augusta residents

POSTED: July 28, 2007 5:03 a.m.

Residents along Old Augusta Road raised concerns about possible future traffic woes with Effingham County commissioners.

Commissioners approved rezoning a sizable parcel, 257 acres, for Del-A-Rae, Inc., along Old Augusta Road to R-1. The tract is south of Chimney Road and bordered by Abercorn Landing Road and Abercorn Creek. Nearby residents asked for safeguards on traffic and for the surrounding land.

“My main concern is traffic,” said Tim Phillips.

Phillips told commissioners that accel/decel lanes need to be put in.

“If you have someone stopping to turn into that subdivision,” he said, “you’ll have someone killed.”

Phillips also asked for a 100-foot buffer, as did Roxanne Pierce.

“We like the country living, not the city living,” she said.

The county has been buying property along Old Augusta Road for a right-of-way, as the road will be widened to four lanes.

Mickey Kicklighter, attorney for Del-A-Rae, said there would not be room for accel/decel lanes.

“That would be putting it in the right-of-way,” he said.

Kicklighter reminded commissioners the county has an ordinance calling for a 15-foot vegetative buffer and the expanded right-of-way on Old Augusta Road also would provide separation. Old Augusta Road, once widened, is planned to be a limited access road.

“As it stands now, the houses won’t face Abercorn Landing,” Kicklighter said.

He also pointed to plans to widen the right-of-way along Abercorn Landing Road from 40 feet to 80 feet, space that could accommodate more parking along that road for people wanting to use the landing.

“It would be incongruous to mandate a 100-foot buffer when the county is going turn some of that into parking,” he said.

Kicklighter also objected to the possibility of requiring a 100-foot buffer down a 1,200-foot stretch of Old Augusta. That, he estimated, would occupy three acres of the parcel.

“Our position is that would be a taking,” he said.

Kicklighter also said the state Department of Transportation requires accel/decel lanes depending on traffic counts.

The developers have turned in the paperwork to the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center for a development of regional impact in August. They still are awaiting a response.

“By their regs, we were supposed to have it back in 45 days,” he said.

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