Columbus annexes another 2.6 acres for Foster Creek

Published 10:11 am Friday, March 22, 2013


Annexation spurs debate

The Town of Columbus approved voluntarily annexing a non-contiguous 2.6 acres of property to be a part of the planned Foster Creek Preserve, but not after some debate.

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Columbus Town Council met Thursday, March 21 and approved the annexation by a 3-1 vote following a public hearing.

Councilwoman Ernie Kan voted against the annexation, saying residents said years ago they wanted Columbus to slow down on annexing any more properties into the small town.

“There was so much controversy when they first got annexed,” Kan said. “People asked us please, no more annexing until we know what they (Foster Creek developers) are doing.”

But other council members said this particular annexation is not comparing apples to apples. Columbus Mayor Eric McIntyre said this annexation was discussed when Foster Creek was planned and the town wouldn’t be considering the annexation now if the property owners were willing to sell initially.

“I don’t know…if this is comparing apples to apples or not,” McIntyre said. “if it were across town it would be different. Foster Creek is already there. They are not buying a piece of property across the street.”

The property annexed is contiguous to Foster Creek.

“If (the property owner) would have sold it initially we wouldn’t be here today because it would have been in their initial plans,” said McIntyre.

Kan said she was on the planning board at that time and she was really hearing what people were saying and that’s what they asked.

McIntyre said this particular piece of property has always been in discussion. Properties like Giardini’s, who requested to be annexed, are different, McIntyre said.

Columbus denied Giardini’s restaurant twice in recent years, saying residents did not want the town to grow anymore.

Councilman Richard Hall said some things make sense and some things you stand on principle.

“This makes sense,” Hall said.

“I’m just saying what people said,” Kan said. “That’s all I can do.”

Following the annexation to the over 1,000-acre proposed subdivision off Houston Road, developers plan to seek a special use permit from the town for the new parcel to match the current zoning, which includes cluster development.

Foster Creek attorney Alan Peterson attended the council meeting and was the only one to speak during the public hearing. Peterson said the owners acquired the Staggs’ property in December and were asking for the annexation so it will become a part of Foster Creek Preserve. He also said developers will not be asking for the density of the proposed subdivision to increase due to the new annexation.

Foster Creek, owned by Forest City Land Group is a planned 687 dwelling unit subdivision, now located on over 1,065 acres. The town approved the master plan in 2009, a special use permit in 2010 and a development agreement in 2011.