More apartments approved for Aiken's northside

May 23—The plan to construct an apartment complex near the intersection of Sundy Avenue and Jake Place received final approval from the Aiken City Council on Monday evening.

The council voted 5-0 — Mayor Pro Tempore Ed Woltz and Andrea Gregory were not at the meeting — to approve the second and final reading of an ordinance rezoning a 16.82 acre property and approving a concept plan for the apartment complex.

S.C. Rep. Bill Clyburn, D-Aiken, and his wife, Beverly, a former member of the city council, own the property and would sell it to facilitate development.

The property was zoned RS-10 (single-family home with a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet) and will be rezoned to planned residential.

City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh, also not at the meeting, said in a memorandum provided to the council prior to the meeting that the developer, ACMS Development, plans to construct 90 apartments across four buildings on the site.

AMCS Development is a Charleston-area real estate management company and developer with apartment complexes in Charleston (including Goose Creek, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Summerville and West Ashley), Greenville, Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Florida.

Bedenbaugh said the plan calls for 15 one-bedroom, 40 two-bedroom and 25 three-bedroom units ranging in size from 750 square feet to 1,100 square feet. He added the building heights would be 30 feet, 6 inches and they would be constructed out of brick and vinyl lap, and board and batten siding. He said access would be provided via an improved Jake Place and there would be 141 parking spaces.

Ed Girardeau made the motion to approve the ordinance. Gail Diggs seconded his motion.

The council approved first reading of the ordinance Feb. 27 but also asked that a traffic study be reviewed prior to the ordinance returning for second and final reading.

Jennifer Bihl, the city's on-call traffic consultant, presented the results of the study in a memorandum to the council. She said the study recommended the installation of a stop bar on the westbound lane of Kershaw Street as it approaches Sundy Avenue and the clearing of vegetation along Sundy Avenue as it approaches Jake Place.

Yvonne James, a resident of Edrie Street (Edrie is located to the east of Jake Place along Sundy Avenue) asked the council to postpone the consideration of second reading to allow three concerned residents to meet with the developer. She said the residents are concerned that the apartments will become run down and a source of crime, noise and traffic to the residents of her community.

Diggs and ACMS Vice President Randy Clack Jr. addressed her concerns.

Clack said the apartments, though constructed with federal funding, would not be Section 8 housing. He said the target market for the apartments would be people making between $35,000-$45,000 with rents ranging between $750 for the one-bedroom apartments, $940 for the two-bedroom apartments and $1,040 for the three-bedroom apartments.

He added ACMS plans to construct an 8-foot high privacy fence around the apartment complex and leave a tree buffer between the fence and the apartments.

Diggs added the apartments would give people, like she was at one time, the opportunity to find affordable housing as they worked to establish themselves and their careers.

She said the apartment complex would also include a playground area for children and a computer area. She would make sure the developers followed through on their promises for the apartment complex because she lives nearby, too.

Clack added the developer plans to continue to work with nearby residents while final plans are developed. He said it could take until 2026 for the funding for the project to be obtained and construction to be completed.

The council also approved the second and final readings of ordinances:

—setting the city's water and sewer rates for the 2023-24 fiscal year; and

—amending the city's budget to include funding for an underground utilities project.

The council approved first readings of an ordinance annexing and zoning a property on Derby Street.

Mayor Rick Osbon asked the council postpone consideration of an ordinance establishing an overlay district for Silver Bluff Road to allow for public meetings and input.

William Molnar, executive director of the Lower Savannah Council of Governments, presented information on the Lower Savannah council's activities and programs.

The city council also met at 5:30 p.m. for a worksession to discuss a tiny homes project with George Clare of Aiken County Homeless Housing and for an executive session to discuss the city's information technology security system.