The citizens of Sterling Creek Plantation appreciate and stand behind the Richmond Hill City Council for their decision not to rezone the property behind our subdivision to accommodate the proposed Colonial Marsh subdivision. At the meeting when the council made the decision, citizens and business people throughout the community and members of the Bryan County Board of Education attended and literally stood up to illustrate unity against the rezoning.
I am writing this letter to thank the mayor and council members. We applaud them for making tough decisions to protect the safety of our citizens, decisions based on sound judgment, city ordinances, and principles. I am also writing to balance the one-sided article "City discusses possible suit" that appeared in the March 17 edition of the Bryan County News. I know it was difficult for the reporter to write an objective story because the city council was advised not to speak about a case with potential litigation. However, there is more to the story than was reported.
After a year’s worth of serious discussion and review, the city council decided against rezoning the property referred to as "Colonial Marsh." The city council devoted significant resources and time to evaluate the project. City council’s decision followed public hearings, planning/ zoning meetings, and city council meetings. With hundreds in attendance who opposed the rezoning over safety issues, the council made the decision the development was not in the best interests of the community.
There were and are significant problems associated with the projects presented by the developers (Skinners). Over the course of the year, the developers submitted one proposal after another but never resolved the traffic or safety problems that were brought to their attention.
The story erroneously stated, "Each new proposal has entailed him (the developer) altering the plans to reduce the density of the proposed subdivision." Actually, the developers refused to substantially reduce the density of the proposed project; this was one of the reasons the property was not rezoned.
After the city council and the planning and zoning board members tabled the proposed subdivision because of major safety, traffic, and density concerns, the Skinners bought the property anyway. Now even though the developers said in the previously mentioned newspaper article "it's not our intention to sue the city", that is exactly their threat, with no regard to Richmond Hill citizens or government officials.
Richmond Hill citizens have not lost interest or decreased our opposition to the proposed subdivision. Citizens have attended countless public hearings, planning/zoning and city council meetings to express solid and justified concerns.
Over 253 residents signed a petition against the development because the proposed subdivision presented major traffic and safety problems. The development would add hundreds of additional cars daily through an already congested neighborhood and intersection. Sterling Creek residents went to tremendous trouble to access a year’s worth of police reports to illustrate the already excessive traffic accidents on Harris Trail near where the proposed development planned their entrances.
Due to the proximity of the schools, the only way students can get to school from Sterling Creek and neighboring subdivisions is to walk or be driven. We have documented hundreds of students who cross the proposed major entrances into the development to get to the nearby schools. Hundreds of cars at this intersection would jeopardize the safety of all of these children.
As the coastal area comes under more and more pressure for development, Richmond Hill is at a turning point. We appreciate the Mayor and City Council for making good decisions in the best interest of our community, decisions that do not compromise the City Council or Richmond Hill citizens, even when the going get tough.
and Marilyn Hodges
Speaking on behalf of the Sterling Creek Homeowners