Golf News

Augusta-area course’s fate could rest on zoning decision

Jones Creek

AUGUSTA, Georgia — Upset Jones Creek subdivision residents are expecting to appeal a Columbia County Planning Commission decision that the residents say darkens the future of its abandoned golf course.

The Columbia County Planning Commission voted Thursday to approve a minor revision to how property at 777 Jones Creek, originally the golf course’s clubhouse, can be legally used by its owner.

The golf course closed in September 2018. In 2019 the course’s clubhouse and adjoining parking lot were purchased by homebuilder Mark Herbert’s company MBH Holdings, and the building continued to be rented to a catering business while the course itself, still without a new owner, fell into disuse and later foreclosure.

Herbert originally filed a request with the county to change the zoning designation of the property from Planned Unit Development to S-1 so it can be used only as “event, hospitality and meeting space; restaurant space; and catering space and kitchen.” Under that request, the building could not legally be permitted to operate as a golf clubhouse.

Related: Clubhouse and possible rezoning sits at center of Jones Creek golf course’s future

Previous reporting: Rezoning request for Jones Creek clubhouse withdrawn, but residents still worried

That request was protested by Jones Creek residents eager to see the golf course refurbished. Past developers who have approached the Jones Creek Homeowners Association have said that any plan to resurrect the golf course would have to include the centrally located clubhouse.

Herbert then submitted a new rezoning request. Instead of changing the zoning to S-1, it’s a request to make a minor change to the Planned Unit Development, or PUD, conditions. Legally, the new request does not have to be approved by the Columbia County Board of Commissioners, only the county’s Planning Commission, whose members are appointed and not chosen by voting citizens.

Weeds have started to grow in this bunker at the practice range at the Jones Creek golf course in Evans, Ga., Tuesday evening May 21, 2019. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

More than one planning commissioner told an overflow crowd at the meeting Thursday that the board was voting only on whether to change the building’s operating hours from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, and to prohibit trash pickup between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

But Jones Creek resident and attorney Hammad Sheikh said that the rezoning request is intended solely to allow the…


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