The Aiken City Council has approved the first reading of an ordinance that would simultaneously rezone a 9.3-acre plot and approve plans for a 143-townhouse development on the city's Northside.

The approval Monday night was unanimous.

"I cant wait to see it," City Council member Gail Diggs said of the housing development.

"We appreciate your investment in our city," Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon said.

"It's a bold thing to do, and I think the time is right," City Council member Ed Girardeau said. "It's going to be interesting to watch this."

The rezoning request – to go from residential single family to residential single family attached – and related plans received the Planning Commission's blessing on Sept. 11. The approval came with some conditions and waivers attached, though.

The prospective townhouse development, named Pressly Station, is bounded by Beaufort Street as well as Abbeville and Hampton avenues. The lot is contiguous to Wesley United Methodist Church.

Planning Commission member Robert Besley has described the Beaufort Street spot as a "good area" with a "good path" for development-driven traffic.

The 9.3-acre lot that Pressly Station is drafted for is wooded but otherwise vacant. Aerial photos included in City Council's meeting packet show the lot is more than dotted with trees.

That greenery would have to be largely cleared, according to design documents submitted to the city.

The townhouse development is not intended to be a gated community, as was discussed during the Planning Commission meeting, and each unit is about 2,500 square-feet.

Each townhouse is expected to cost $250,000 or more. A homeowners association is planned for the development, Osbon said, citing the developer's testimony.

In total, the development takes on a concentric "U" shape and includes a large, central recreation area, according to concept plans. Beaufort Street Development LLC is listed as the developer on those same plans.

Ordinances require two approvals to fully pass.

Colin Demarest is the government and Savannah River Site reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter: @demarest_colin