The Aiken County Planning Commission approved Thursday a request for a variance to the County Code of Ordinances that paves the way for the construction of a Bojangles’ fast food restaurant in Graniteville.

The vote was 4-0 during the panel’s meeting at the Aiken County Government Center.

Five members of the Planning Commission were present: Vice Chairman Grace Vance, Denise Fulmer, Debra Larke, Liz Stewart and Ronald Wood.

Vance didn’t vote.

Absent were Chairman Dennis Gmerek, Jet Beckum, Robert Mitchell and Terri Turner.

Plans call for the Bojangles’ to be located on Bettis Academy near Interstate 20’s Exit 11.

Bettis Road I-20 LLC requested the variance.

Representing that company at the meeting was David Banks of Southern Partners Inc., a civil engineering, land surveying and land-planning firm based in Augusta.

Bettis Road I-20 owns the land where the Bojangles’ will be built and plans to divide it into two lots. The company also owns another parcel of property adjacent to that land.

The variance will allow all three lots access to Bettis Academy Road via a private driveway, which will run across the adjacent property.

Under the County Code of Ordinances, a private driveway can serve no more than two lots for access purposes.

Doug Cates, who is a Bettis Road I-20 co-owner, described it as “group of local partners” during a telephone interview with the Aiken Standard on Wednesday.

He said Bettis Road I-20 will sell the portion of land where the Bojangles’ will be built to a “Bojangles’ franchisee” that will own and operate the restaurant.

A Candlewood Suites hotel is scheduled to be constructed behind the Bojangles’. But Cates said that project is “kind of on hold” because the Bojangles’ will require more land than originally was anticipated and “we’re going to have to reconfigure where to situate” the hotel.

In other action Thursday, the Planning Commission voted 4-0 to recommend to County Council the approval of a zoning change for nearly 81 acres of property on Old Bell Road near Aiken.

The current zoning for the land is Rural Development, or RD. The applicant, Susan Chriswell, wants it to be Residential Limited Mixed Use, or RM.

During a public hearing, several residents in the area said they were in favor of the zoning change, but expressed concerns about any residential development because of a limited supply of water and the increase in traffic that would result. One wanted to know if it would affect the zoning of her own land. 

In addition, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve, with contingencies, the preliminary plat for two sections in phase one of the Graylyn Lakes residential development on Pony Trail in Aiken.

Graylyn LLC was the applicant, and Southern Partners is the engineer.

There will be 62 lots on 132.18 acres.

The Planning Commission also unanimously approved a request involving a cul-de-sac in Graylyn Lakes.

In another matter, the panel voted 3-1 to continue a request for a preliminary plat approval revision for the Cypress Pointe subdivision on Springdale Road in Graniteville.

There would be 91 lots on 41.56 acres.

Fulmer voted against continuance.

​Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @DBethBiles.