Dear editor: I attended the meeting of the Richmond Hill Planning Commission on Aug. 22. I was concerned about the Steve Croy development on 112 acres along Hwy. 144. The commission voted 3-2 to approve this development, a tie broken by the chairman. As approved, this development will include 240,000 square feet of commercial/retail, 286 apartment units and 80 patio homes, to start.
Based on traffic study numbers, there are 15,600 trips per day on Hwy. 144. This development as planned will add an additional 11,000 trips per day. This will almost double the amount of traffic on Hwy. 144.
Another concern not mentioned at the meeting is the ability of the city’s water treatment plant to handle the additional load such a development will bring. It seems I read monthly in the Bryan County News about another spill from the plant. Right now, the city can’t handle its water treatment. Unless significant changes are approved for the city, I think this development will cause major spills to the area on a regular basis.
In addition, the development of this parcel as planned is not needed now. There is a high vacancy rate of affordable housing and commercial space. Do we really need another development competing with empty spaces, leading to more blight in the city and surrounding areas, as well as driving prices everywhere?
Lastly, I was very concerned about the attitude of commissioners Albritton and Baraniak. Both stated that they didn’t think traffic was “their concern” and that development shouldn’t be stalled because of traffic problems. This is ridiculous. What’s the good of a planning commission if it doesn’t take these things into consideration?
There are reasonable ways of developing this land. The current plan, I feel, is excessive in density, will overburden the city’s resources and will decrease the quality of life for city and county residents. The commissioners who approved this plan ignored these concerns.
Richmond Hill City Council will vote on this request Sept. 20. If you have concerns about this project, please make your voices heard to council members and attend the meeting.