Community members upset about apartments moving into their neighborhood

Community members upset about apartments moving into their neighborhood
Site where new apartments will be in Evans (Lex Juarez)

EVANS, GA (WFXG) - Over 300 Columbia County residents are concerned about an apartment complex that is set to be built on Blackstone Camp Road. They showed that concern by signing a petition titled, “Deny Blackstone Camp Rd Rental Multi-family Apartments.” The petition was presented to Columbia County Board of Commission on Tuesday, March 19.

Community members living in neighborhoods surrounding the site say they are worried about traffic congestion, environmental impact and safety for kids who walk to school. Many of the neighbors say they moved to the area to get away from the city, but still be close to everything. For one, Kat Price, she lives in her dream home. She said, “I love where I live. We’ve been here four and a half years, and I don’t ever want to move.”

Other neighbors say the thought of the apartment complex being built has them contemplating a move. Price explained, “Already right now, a lot of the residents are thinking of a move. People are wanting to get out of here already, and it’s not even happening yet.”

Southeastern Development Associates will be putting up the new development. Since 2002, the land has been approved for apartments. For Price, it could potentially damage her view of her dream home. “Our back yard, it’s very private. From what I understand, we are going to be facing the apartments. You know, it’s going to be an eye sore for us. We’re going to lose the peace and the safety,” she explained. “I just want them to reconsider, maybe, and just give us some time to see if they’re making the right move here and that it will be safe for all, especially the children.”

FOX 54 reporter Lex Juarez reached out to Chairman Duncan with the board. His statement reads:

"While the Board of Commissioners listened to the concerns of each speaker present at last night’s Commission meeting, it was shared with the citizens present that the zoning of this PUD along with the site plans will not come before the Board of Commissioners. It is already zoned for apartments. As Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, I encouraged the HOA representatives and other residents present to sit down with the developer to address some of their concerns and work together to come up with a solution.

The developer has already submitted the site plan for the apartments, and the plan has gone through the first round of reviews. County staff is on top of the plans submitted and working hard to make sure that if, and when, the plan goes through, it follows county rules and procedures which will address a majority of the resident's concerns. While in the review process, staff will look at traffic studies along with the site plan to help determine what will be needed for safety measures."

As you know, staff is already working on property acquisition for the Fury’s Ferry Road (SR 28) Widening Project with anticipation of the first phase of this road project beginning in late 2019/early 2020."

While some neighbors are strongly against the new development, others say it’s a part of progress. Terry Bowden, who lives in Blackstone Neighborhood, said, “We’re a growing area, we need more housing for people moving here, and I think it’s a good thing.”

Price said the group is hoping that the plan can change to single family units, but if that’s not possible, she would be happy with a few other ideas. “If they can leave a buffer of trees and nature. I hate that they’re disrupting the wildlife, because there is a lot. And I know that because half of my bushes here are eaten by deer.” She also said as traffic becomes more congested, some stop lights or walking paths would be a great addition.

We’ve reached out to Southeastern Development Associates and have not gotten a response.

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