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District 5 candidates to address community concerns during town hall meeting
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RINCON — Both candidates in the District 5 Effingham County Board of Commissioners race have agreed to participate in a town hall meeting.

Incumbent Republican Phil Kieffer and his Democrat challenger, Delmons White, are slated to appear at the United Way Building, 711 Zitterour Drive, on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. They will discuss a variety of community concerns, including the development of land for warehouse construction along Old Augusta Road and Abercorn Creek. 

The town hall was born out of a recent series of meetings of Baker Hill residents at Abercorn Missionary Baptist Church.

“I think it should be a bigger conversation for all of District 5,” said Jen Hilburn, a representative of 100 Miles, a Brunswick-based nonprofit organization working to protect and preserve Georgia’s coast through advocacy, education and citizen engagement.

The number of proposed warehouse developments in the southern portion of Effingham County have increased considerably in recent months, sparking worries about increased traffic and environmental impacts. One is on a 130-acre near Savannah’s water intake plant.

During its most recent meeting, the Rincon City County tabled a request to rezone a 175-acre parcel from general business to light industrial, which would pave the way for more warehouses.

“I think Effingham County leadership, in general, is starting to sense that the community’s awareness is heightened and we have communities from one end of the spectrum to the other,” Hilburn said. “Some community members are willing to fight everything they can to protect their properties and their quality of life, and some are ready to move on and leave Effingham County because they are so disappointed in some of the local decisions that are being made around economic development.”

The need for warehouses stems from the increase of activity at the Port of Savannah. Effingham County land nearest to the port is being sold for more than $200,000 per acre.