Proposed development has pros and cons - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Proposed development has pros and cons

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April 6, 2004

Leesburg-- Leesburg leaders may decide soon whether to approve a residential development that could double the city's population.

City Attorney Tommy Coleman says the project could attract three thousand new residents. "It increases their tax base and promotes growth."

A developer is trying to convince city leaders to let him build a project many current residents oppose.

On a warm South Georgia afternoon, a white crane is enjoying this pond all to itself. For a moment, it's like a wildlife refuge. But actually, it's only steps away from busy U.S. 19 in Leesburg. It's land that could soon be under construction.

Developer John Leach is trying to convince the city to approve a plan to build Lee Farms off of Robert B. Lee Road. Coleman: "This family is from Lee County, they have strong attachments there. They care for the county, care for the city of Leesburg."

The 275 acre project will have a shopping center, businesses and room for three thousand people to live. But some people don't like the idea. So Leach has made some changes.

People who live on Cannon Drive have backyards that would touch the development. Leach redrew the plan to include 275 feet of woods to protect their privacy.

Lee Countian Tommy Clifton says he can live with the changes if the city ensures the developer sticks with his promises. "We do ask that they endorse these concessions that they've made and make them part of the ordinance."

The project could also bring in more than $100 million in tax money to Leesburg, a city that is home to many churches and government buildings; facilities that don't pay taxes.

Coleman says, "It's a planned development that I don't know of anywhere in South Georgia that's fortunate enough to have this happening."

So it's a plan that the white crane may not love, but it may benefit the people who live in Leesburg.

There's a public hearing tonight at Leesburg City Council at 7:00PM.

posted at 10:30AM by dave.miller@walb.com