north augusta city council

North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover and Mayor Bob Pettit listen to resident Bill Scott speak during Monday's City Council meeting. 

NORTH AUGUSTA — North Augusta City Council voted Monday in favor of rezoning property along Georgia Avenue the city owns – also known as the Flythe property – to public use zoning, which would allow the city to build a new Public Safety fire station on the property.

Council voted 5-2 to approve the first two of three readings of an ordinance that would rezone the property. Council members Bob Brooks, Pat Carpenter, Fletcher Dickert, David McGhee and Mayor Bob Pettit each voted in favor of the rezoning. Members Kevin Toole and Eric Presnell voted against the rezoning.

The property is located in a historic district and is covered by the Neighborhood Preservation Overlay District. Council has received pushback from residents about building a fire station on the land.

The two side-by-side parcels the ordinance would rezone are currently zoned large-lot single family residential.

In May 2018, the city’s Planning Commission recommended against rezoning the property.

Dickert mentioned during the meeting that the city doesn’t know when the next fire that requires the city’s ladder truck will be but that each day it’s one day closer, and that fact, along with the improved response times, is why he supports building a fire station on the property.

Council also passed the first two of three readings of an ordinance that would amend article 3 of the Development Code.

The amendments would exclude public use-zoned properties from conforming to the city’s overlay districts.

North Augusta Mayor Bob Pettit said during the meeting that the amendment is a generic change to the Development Code but that it is “closely tied” to the siting of the fire station.

During the comment portion of the meeting, Council members Toole and Presnell said they wouldn’t vote to exempt the city from its own rules.

The first and second readings each passed 5-2. In favor of the ordinance were Brooks, Carpenter, Dickert, McGhee and Pettit. Presnell and Toole each voted against the ordinance.

Additionally, Council failed the first reading of an ordinance that would amend the city’s Neighborhood Preservation Overlay District on a vote of 3-3.

The amendment would have excluded the west side of Georgia Avenue from Briggs Avenue to Maddox Street from the overlay. Voting in favor of the ordinance were McGhee, Presnell and Pettit. Opposed to the ordinance were Toole, Dickert and Brooks. Carpenter recused herself from the vote.

Michael Pace, owner of Mountaineer Pest Control, applied for the amendment. During their June 20 meeting, the city’s Planning Commission voted to recommend that City Council approve the text amendment.

A very similar ordinance that would amend the overlay district, based on an application by Pace, failed in August 2018 after a few contentious meetings and the ordinance being tabled twice.

Council also passed a motion to receive the Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation to amend the city’s sign code as well as a unanimous recommendation to abandon a platted, but unopened and unapproved, right-of-way on the Carolina Avenue alley.

Council voted on and unanimously passed the first two of three readings of an ordinance that would abandon the right-of-way. It would go to Paul Brewer and Barbara Coleman.

The first two readings of an ordinance that would annex 20 parcels of land (around 5.42 acres) into the city were also each passed unanimously.

The parcels are located on Bradley Drive, Thaxton Court and Bradley Court.

Each ordinance that passed two readings Monday will have a third reading at a future meeting and are not adopted until the passage of the third reading. 

City Council passed two resolutions Monday night as well.

The first was a resolution that would accept the low bid from Beam’s Contracting, Inc. for the Walnut Lane reconstruction project.

The bid was worth $737,500 and Council member David McGhee recused himself from the vote.

Tom Zeaser, director of the city’s engineering department, said the reconstruction would add 2-foot paved shoulders on either side of the road.

The second resolution would accept a grant of $20,000 from S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to be used to purchase public place recycling stations and provide public education. The resolution passed unanimously.

All Council members were present at the meeting.

Lindsey Hodges is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. Follow her on Twitter at @LindseyNHodges.