By: Gail Parsons/Effingham Herald
A motion to approve a zoning amendment for three parcels at 0 Towne Park East from general commercial to multi-unit residential failed for the lack of a second. The project would have provided 23 townhomes on a 2.5-acre tract. The Planning and Zoning board had recommended approval of the project.
Bobby Bagwell, the developer who filed the petition for the zoning amendment and Cody Rogers, Statesboro Branch Manager at EMC Engineering Services, Inc. addressed the council about concerns they mentioned during a previous conversation about the project at a Rincon City Council meeting.
Among the concerns was about the traffic and how well a school bus would be able the maneuver through the area.
“My biggest problem is Highway 21,” Michelle Taylor said. “We just keep adding and adding and adding — that’s my problem (with the project).”
Ben Blackwell, who put the motion for approval on the table, said he didn’t see there would be a traffic issue caused by the townhomes, and with the Hyundai plant and all the supporting industries, housing is a critical issue.
Rogers said the 23-unit development would generate less traffic than if the property was developed for what it is currently zoned.
“We went back and ran a few different scenarios,” Rogers said. “Our development is expected to generate roughly 170 trips per day.”
In comparison, if the property stays general commercial and a 50,000-foot office building was constructed there, it would generate about 163 trips a day. A general discount store would have more than 800.
Rogers also pointed out that the land has been zoned general commercial for several years and no one has shown interest in developing it for that use.
Another concern was about the sewer capacity. Rogers said the townhomes would generate about 6,900 gallons per day — the city maintains roughly 200,000 GPD capacity.
They also spoke to the price point of $250,000.
“Hopefully, maybe the market turns,” Bagwell said. “We’d love to build those more affordable than that because what we see is, housing demand in Savannah right now, we know entry-level housing and affordable housing is much in need.”
In other business:
- · On a four-two vote the council approved, on first reading, an amendment to the zoning map for at 1350 N. Columbia Ave. Council Members Kevin Exley and Taylor voted in opposition to amending the zoning of 2.79 acres from limited industrial to general commercial and 18.5 acres from limited industrial to R8 — multi-residential.
- · There was unanimous approval on a preliminary sketch site plan for a 320,000 square-foot industrial warehouse on 0 Highway 21.
- · Council Member Patrick Kirkland’s motion to deny a variance to construct a cold-storage water warehouse five feet higher than the city zoning permits died for the lack of a second. Kirkland was the one negative vote to allow the Cold Summit Development to build a 55-foot facility to meet industry standards. Kirkland indicated his opposition was his concern of setting a precedence, which could encourage others to request similar variances.
- · An application requesting final site plan approval of a 35-lot single-family subdivision at 16787 Fort Howard Road received unanimous approval.
- · Council also gave unanimous approval to the Rincon Lions Club request for a Dec. 10 Christmas parade.
- · Approved low bids on sidewalk projects on Fort Howard, Ninth Street and Highway 21. The total for the three projects is just about $1,155,700.
- · A bid was award to Advanced Athletic Surfaces for $29,480 to resurfacing the tennis courts at Patriots Park.
- · Council approved an agreement $9,408 with GoGov to implement a Citizen Request Management System and Notification/Alert System.
- · In his report Police Chief Jonathon Murrell gave a report on bank jugging. Bank jugging is when a person goes follows their victim from a bank, credit union, ATM/ITM or check-cashing store to their next location. Rincon police have had two recent reports of bank jugging but several other cities in the region have also had cases of it. In both of Rincon’s cases the victim left the bank, and went to a restaurant and was inside when the crime occurred. In one case, the window was broken and the money stolen; in the second the victim had the cash with them.
“The biggest consistency that I saw on the report that was gathered from all these agencies is most of the time they are being followed to some kind of big box store,” Murrell said.