Pressly Station, Planning Commission

Aiken Planning Commission members review plans for a new townhouse development in the city. The Planning Commission met Tuesday night.

Dozens and dozens of townhouses could be coming to Beaufort Street in Aiken.

Concept plans and building elevations included in the Planning Commission's latest meeting packet illustrate "Pressly Station," a proposed 143-townhouse development bounded by Beaufort Street, Abbeville Avenue and Hampton Avenue. The lot is contiguous to the Wesley United Methodist Church.

Each townhouse would be about 2,500 square-feet. Pressly Station is not designed as a gated community.

The development mock-up sits on a wooded 9.3-acre lot. Most of the existing greenery will be removed, according to a development narrative submitted to the city's planning department.

Pressly Station, according to the concept plan, will feature a pool, a clubhouse and central open space with an amenity area. At least 20 percent of Pressly Station will be open space, according to the narrative.

Overall, the development takes a concentric "U" shape. Entrances are drawn in along Abbeville and Hampton avenues.

The lot is currently zoned residential single family. The developer – Beaufort Street Development, LLC – has requested the area be rezoned to residential single family attached, a more-or-less townhouse-specific designation that has yet to be used in the city.

On Tuesday night, the Planning Commission reviewed the concept plan and the rezoning request. The commission, at the end of the meeting, unanimously recommended rezoning the lot and also recommended approving the concept plans, noting several conditions and waivers.

The fate of the development is now in the hands of City Council. The Planning Commission is an advisory body.

Prospective Pressly Station neighbors raised some concerns about the development on Tuesday night, mainly preservation of the area, privacy and parking.

"We're just concerned with protecting our neighborhood," one neighbor said.

"It's just putting too many people and too many vehicles in too small an area," another Aiken resident said.

Planning Commission member Robert Besley responded to some of the growth concerns Tuesday night.

"If one area of Aiken can handle it better than anything else, in my personal opinion, it's the northeast side of town," Besley said, describing Beaufort Street as an excitingly "good path" for traffic.

A traffic study is not required for the area, according to Planning Commission documents, which cite the city's traffic management ordinance.

"This is a good area," Besley said.

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