Columbia County Approves Zoning for Bird Rescue and New Shopping Malls


The Columbia County Council of Commissioners on Tuesday evening approved three zoning applications that could lead to several business opportunities:

New commercial area

Versha Investments, LLC, has applied for the rezoning of nine acres between 3950 Evans and Locks Road and 104 Preakness Drive in Martinez for “restaurants, retail and offices,” according to the reference documents. Since the area is undeveloped and is located just outside the Steeplechase neighborhood, appropriate buffer zones will be required.

In the initial development plan provided, the area would be designated as “Preakness Plaza” and would include a restaurant, offices and 14 retail stores, four of which would face the Walgreens on Furys Ferry Road. However, this initial plan did not meet the requirements of the Node Protection Overlay District.

Walgreens Drive would cross Preakness Plaza and therefore add another facet that Versha Investments and Columbia County would have to accommodate, which could potentially revise development plans.

Extension of bird rescue

Feathered Friends Forever in Harlem has received approval to rezone nearly 12 acres to extend its wings. The non-profit animal sanctuary provides temporary and permanent housing for displaced tropical birds and is currently home to around 250 birds.

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The approved land consists of sections of the Byrd Drive at the Old Augusta Freeway exit. Founder Ron Johnson said he intended to use it for a small petting zoo, six tournament-grade horseshoe pits, a zip line, a vet center and six “little houses” for visitors and volunteers.

The rescue is only open on weekends but organizes educational tours for school groups three times a week.

New grocery store, convenience stores

Columbia Road meets Lewiston Road on the corner of a vacant property where a developer is proposing to build a supermarket, across from a Food Lion anchoring a commercial strip.

Just over nine acres of undeveloped land at the corner of Columbia and Lewiston roads in Grovetown has been approved for commercial use. A conceptual sketch plan was provided for a 45,600 square foot supermarket, 4,898 square foot convenience store with gas pumps and detention facilities for the entire development.

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The new supermarket would be located across Columbia Road from a Food Lion anchoring the Village at Hereford Farms retail hub, with the new six-pump convenience store across Lewiston Road from the independent Lewiston Express store.