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McDuffie commission denies request for Rousseau subdivision

A new subdivision that would create as many as 101 lots in the Rousseau Creek area of McDuffie County is on hold - at least for now.

The two-phase concept to develop a subdivision in that area - only a short distance from the Columbia County line, was unanimously denied by McDuffie County commissioners during a meeting in the courtroom last Tuesday night.

It had met with opposition by a number of residents who live there and stay there on weekends and holidays. An estimated 40 people attended the meeting - with just a few openly stating their feelings about why they oppose such a new subdivision.

The idea to create a subdivision there, which would take in slightly more than 192 acres, was brought to commissioners by Bill Hargrove, an engineer with Swift & Associates, of Augusta and Lloyd DeFoor, president of DeFoor Reality Inc., of Appling. The two men attended the meeting, representing Knox Ltd.

At the July meeting of the McDuffie County Planning Commission, members voted to recommend approval of the subdivision design. Charles Wallace, who is a member of that same panel, opposed the approval. Mr. Wallace, according to minutes of that meeting, "inquired as to the chronological relationship of this application to the adoption of the new subdivision regulations," which since have been approved by county commissioners.

When that matter arose at last week's commission meeting, McDuffie County Planning Director Fred Guerrant explained to commissioners and others that engineering plans for the subdivision were received April 16. An application for review was made on May 24 and the new subdivision regulations were passed on June 6.

Commissioner Darrell Wester asked Mr. Guerrant whether he knew about the application at the time. He replied that he did, but indicated he didn't know when the new subdivision regulations would come up for approval. Mr. Guerrant explained that Mr. Hargrove and DeFoor wanted to proceed under the old set of subdivision regulations.

"I think they (developers) have to re-submit," an application under the new subdivision regulations, Mr. Wester said. The developers, he said, were figuring under the old set of subdivision regulations, which are no longer being adhered to in this county.

Mr. Wester later made a motion, which was received a second from Commissioner Bob Farr, that the developers' application be denied at this time.

Commission Chairman Charlie Newton said he believed that the planning board voted to approve recommending the subdivision, based on the fact that at the time, the new subdivision regulations had not been approved by county commissioners.

County Attorney Sammy Fowler explained that the new subdivision regulations would take precedence over the older set of regulations.

"When you passed the new one, you deleted the other one," Mr. Fowler said.

Mr. Newton also pointed out that before the new subdivision could be built, a soil study would have to be completed.

A number of persons voiced opposition to the new subdivision idea during the planning meeting. Many of them objected to it contending it would increase traffic flow along Rousseau Creek Road, which dead-ends. Other concerns included the area having only one boat ramp, virtually no parking around the boat ramp, hunting rights, environmental concerns, the possibility of renaming the existing subdivision, etc.

Several of those same concerns, including the possibility of another school bus having to transport students to and from school in that area, were mentioned by Lucretia Ferguson, of Thomson, during last week's meeting with elected officials.

Three other persons, opposing the subdivision, also briefly addressed commissioners. They included Cliff Smithson, Arthur Apple and Wendy Lowenthal.

Mrs. Ferguson said she and others who own property in the Rousseau Creek area plan to keep a watchful eye on developments related to a new subdivision. She also expressed pleasure with the support received from county commissioners last week.

Web posted on Thursday, July 26, 2007

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