Members of North Augusta City Council at their March 7 meeting approved a request to rezone property that stretches between East Martintown Road and East Buena Vista Avenue for a large scale, multi-purpose development.
The developer, SC North Augusta Buena Vista, LLC of Columbia, S.C., requested rezoning for just under 52 acres on the east side of East Martintown Road commonly referred to as the Mealing tract.
“Ultimately, this ordinance would allow for the development plan for the Bluegrass PD (Planned Development) with the change that it does not have connectivity into the neighborhood behind the elementary school,” said City Administrator Jim Clifford.
The developer wants to create Bluegrass Place. The plan calls for more than 500 new residential units including single-family homes and apartments, professional and commercial properties, senior living and about four acres of greenspace.
The development first met with resistance at the Feb. 10 council meeting when residents submitted a petition. Residents were particularly opposed to a through street that would have linked Goldman Street to Martintown and Buena Vista. The residents were concerned it would create a cut through, increasing traffic through their neighborhood of about 30 homes.
Robert Wright, speaking on behalf of the developer, said the road was included only because the city requires connectivity for new neighborhoods.
“We don’t really care if we connect Goldman. I understand the concerns of the folks here. Our primary entrances are going to be Martintown and Buena Vista. And except for the need for connectivity, we don’t really have any need to go there,” he said.
Council approved an amended request that eliminates the through street from the plan, satisfying neighbors at the meeting.
In other action, council approved staff recommendations on how to use just over $11.8 million the city will receive in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.
The U.S. Treasury Department had released its final rule on Jan. 6 for how municipalities can use the funds.
One section allows municipalities to take a standard allowance for revenue loss of up to $10 million rather than complete a full revenue loss calculation. Municipalities opting to use the standard allowance may use the money for government service with streamlined reporting requirements.
Clifford said the staff recommendation is to follow that guideline and put the $10 million into use as general governmental funds and use the balance for utility projects, specifically wastewater projects.
Council also approved the first large project to be paid for with the funds, $3.9 million to repair the Southwest Interceptor, a pipeline built in 1950. The pipeline runs from Georgia Avenue near the 13th Street Bridge, parallel to the Savannah River, to West Martintown Road.
North Augusta has received its first installment of funds, $5.9 million . The balance is expected to be released to the city by October or November.