Aiken City Councilís rejection of the two hotels proposed for Whiskey Road at the corner of Stratford Drive was a shock to some.
After hearing traffic concerns from residents who live in the vicinity of the project that was up for consideration at Monday nightís meeting, some council members decided that there needed to be a big change made to the concept plan before final approval: Either put in an access road and remove the outlet from Stratford Drive or nix the plan as is.
The concept plan showed two outlets, one on Stratford and another on Whiskey. Stratford Drive is the only exit point for three neighborhoods with more than 220 homes combined and residents were worried about safety and future traffic issues.
This is a step in the right direction. Commercial growth is important in Aiken. It brings in business and new jobs but the city needs to be smart about where and how it grows.
First, Whiskey Road is already congested. Second, putting an outlet onto Stratford Drive could potentially cause hazardous situations in the future.
Developers said that they would put signage to reflect that the outlet would only be for service vehicles, but how would that be enforced?
The city should have been a bit more proactive in addressing traffic issues on Whiskey Road in the past and they are taking the right steps to attempt to abate future problems.
We want businesses to come to Aiken and City Council members as well as residents said that they approve of the plan of building the two hotels, but they want compromise. Developers feel that building a frontage road could hurt future businesses from locating on the property which is about 30 acres, the hotels only taking up only about six acres.
But, if someone wants to come to Aiken badly enough, theyíll work around the infrastructure thatís already in place.
And they will hopefully work with the residents who will be impacted by their future endeavors.