New grocery store proposed off Silver Bluff Road in Aiken

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Sep. 14—A 47,240-square-foot-grocery store could be constructed in The Village at Woodside in the near future even though objections have been raised and there is the threat of legal action.

The Aiken Planning Commission voted 5-0 on Tuesday to recommend to Aiken City Council, with conditions, the approval of requests related to that project.

One involves the annexation into the city of a nearly 5-acre parcel outside The Village's current boundaries and the other concerns revisions to The Village's concept plan.

Seven 1,400-square-foot "in-line" shops would be built in addition to the grocery store, and there would be two commercial outparcels bordering Village Green Boulevard.

The applicant was Silver Bluff Development Company LLC.

Peach Properties of Columbia also is part of the project's team, and "we will be the ultimate owners of the grocery development," said the company's vice president, Brad Shell.

"I'm very limited as to what I can say; but, basically, I would characterize it as a nicer grocery store," he continued. "It's a regional grocery operator throughout the Southeast, and it (the store) will be one of the newer prototypes. It will have a pharmacy with a drive-thru.

"We're very excited," he added.

A 47,240-square-foot-grocery store could be constructed in The Village at Woodside in the near future even though objections have been raised and there is the threat of legal action.

The Aiken Planning Commission voted 5-0 on Tuesday to recommend to Aiken City Council, with conditions, the approval of requests related to that project.

One involves the annexation into the city of a nearly 5-acre parcel outside The Village's current boundaries and the other concerns revisions to The Village's concept plan.

Seven 1,400-square-foot "in-line" shops would be built in addition to the grocery store, and there would be two commercial outparcels bordering Village Green Boulevard.

The applicant was Silver Bluff Development Company LLC.

During the public hearing prior to the Planning Commission's vote, Shell said the grocery store and shops would be "designed and built to complement the existing buildings in The Village at Woodside.

"Our primary goal is to have a very nice product that everyone will be proud of," Shell concluded.

Aiken County land records show that the nearly 5 acres at 1537 Silver Bluff Road that would be annexed are owned by Candido Urtiaga.

Shell said the property is under contract to be sold by Urtiaga.

Other proposed changes in the The Village include the expansion of the area where providers of medical and health-related services are located.

There would be additional parking and up to 20,000 square feet of new medical and/or office space.

Currently, the area has four buildings that are fully occupied.

Five people expressed concerns about the plans for the grocery area or objected to them during a public hearing.

Among them were Dr. John Veldman and Preston Rahe, who both live on Magnolia Lake Court, which would be behind the grocery store if it were constructed.

"Certainly, a small specialty grocery store has been part of the master plan (for The Village) for a long time ... which I personally have no issues with," Veldman said. "But what we have here is something that is far beyond anything that has been considered in the past.

"This is not small scale, this is large scale, and it's right on Silver Bluff Road. It is actually very out of character for the kinds of things that The Village at Woodside has done."

Rahe told the Planning Commission that an attorney had been retained to try to prevent the grocery store area project from proceeding as proposed.

He said after the meeting that he and Veldman had hired Dionè Carroll to represent them in their attempt "to squash this whole idiotic plan."

Other concerns and objections mentioned by Rahe, Veldman and others during the public hearing included light pollution because the proposed parking lot in the grocery store area would be illuminated at night and increases in traffic and noises from traffic.

Both Rahe and Veldman believe that the project is inconsistent with the City of Aiken's "Comprehensive Land Use Plan" for the corridor from Centre South shopping center to Richardsons Lake Road.

"We don't want another Whiskey Road," said Nina Maxwell, who also spoke during the public hearing.

The conditions of the Planning Commission's favorable recommendation to City Council include a traffic impact analysis that must reviewed and approved by the South Carolina Department of Transportation and a City of Aiken traffic consultant.

The Planning Commission met at the City of Aiken Municipal Building on Chesterfield Street.

In other action Tuesday, the Aiken Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend to City Council the approval of a request for city water and sewer service for approximately 44 acres on Vaucluse Road near its intersection with University Parkway.

There is a plan to construct 115 single-family detached homes. A 120-unit single-family townhome development is included in the proposal.

The applicant was Jonathan Crawford.

Vaucluse Partners QZB LLC is the owner of the property, according to Aiken County land records.

In addition, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended to City Council the approval of a request for the annexation in the city of less than an acre located south of 475 Town Creek Road.

Applicant Kathy R. Harris also asked for the property's zoning designation to become Residential Single-Family Development following annexation. Its Aiken County zoning designation is Residential Conservation.

In addition, the Planning Commission approved unanimously for recommendation to City Council a request for the annexation into the city of approximately 8 acres on Ginger Lane, near Cracker Barrel Old Country Store in Aiken.

Sycamore Aiken LLC, the applicant and owner of the property, also asked for the land's zoning designation to become Planned Commercial following annexation.

The property's current zoning designation in Aiken County is Urban Development.