North Augusta City Council, Flythe property rezoning, red shirts

Many of those who attended Monday evening's North Augusta City Council meeting wore red shirts as a show of unity. 

NORTH AUGUSTA — North Augusta City Council received a round of applause Monday night after tabling a controversial ordinance.

North Augusta City Council tabled an ordinance that would rezone the city-owned Flythe property on Georgia Avenue to Public Use zoning.

The rezoning, as well as an amendment to the city's Development Code, would allow the city to build a Public Safety fire station on the property, which is in a historic district.

North Augusta residents who want to preserve the neighborhood feel and the historical significance of the property spoke out Monday night, as they have at previous City Council and Planning Commission meetings regarding the property.

The ordinance was unanimously tabled on the third and final reading. Mayor Bob Pettit made the motion to rezone, and it was seconded by Eric Presnell.

The first two readings of the ordinance passed 5-2, with Kevin Toole and Presnell voting against the rezoning. The ordinance, if passed in the future, would rezone two adjoining properties, and their previous zoning was large-lot single family residential.

Council member Fletcher Dickert said during the meeting that the motion to table is a sign that Council is listening to the concerns of the residents.

Before the meeting, Council went into executive session to discuss the fire station, as well as details of a community center. Following the meeting, Council went back into executive session, which is closed to the public. Pettit said at the end of the meeting that no action would be taken.

Many of those attending the meeting wore red, an action put in place by resident Fred Ilardi on Facebook to create a “feeling of unity and a feeling of passion.”

“I have a lot of passion about people’s neighborhoods and I got the feeling that City Council wasn’t paying attention to people,” Ilardi said, “And so I thought the best way to show a visible sign was for everybody to wear red tonight. I think anytime you show a visible sign, people get it.”

Council then passed an ordinance on third and final reading that would amend the city's Development Code, allowing properties zoned Public Use to be exempt from overlay districts. The Flythe property is located in the Neighborhood Preservation Overlay District. Council member Pat Carpenter made a motion to table this ordinance as well, but the motion failed on a 3-3 vote. The reading then passed 4-2, with Dickert, Pettit, Carpenter and David McGhee in favor. Toole and Presnell voted against the amendment ordinance.

The first two readings of the amendment also passed 5-2 with Toole and Presnell opposed.

The city's Planning Commission officially recommended against both the rezoning and the amendment.

Council voted on and passed the third and final readings of two other ordinances. One abandons a right-of-way on the Carolina Avenue alley, and the other annexes 20 parcels – around 5.42 acres – of land into the city. The parcels are located on Bradley Drive, Thaxton Court and Bradley Court and owned by Summer Lakes Development, LLC.

Council also passed the first and second readings of an ordinance that would grant easements to Dominion Energy for underground conversion on Five Notch Road. The ordinance is not adopted until the third reading, which will take place at a future meeting. 

During their study session before the meeting, Council discussed a request to declare a city-owned property as surplus. The property is located near the Sunset Hill Cemetery. No action was taken on that discussion.

Council member Bob Brooks was not present for any of Monday’s votes.

Lindsey Hodges is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. Follow her on Twitter at @LindseyNHodges.