The South Carolina Supreme Court unanimously upheld the legality of a North Augusta TIF for ballpark and development financing, clearing the way for a new Augusta Greenjackets (Low Class A; Sally League) facility.
Stephen Donohue, a North Augusta resident, sued the city over the creation of a TIF district for Project Jackson, a $183-million development that also includes a hotel and conference center, retail and residential. His argument: the area was not blighted (a normal condition for a TIF district) and the decision was made without public input via private sessions.
Donohue prevailed on the issue of private sessions, but he failed on the larger issue, with the Supreme Court saying the establishment of the TIF district met state guidelines. That means the project can move forward, and we’re presuming we’re looking at a 2017 opening until we hear otherwise. From the Augusta Chronicle:
The 5-0 ruling effectively ends 18 months of litigation challenging North Augusta’s $183 million Project Jackson near the Hammonds Ferry neighborhood with a baseball park overlooking the Savannah River, a hotel, conference center, retail, living and office space and more.
“Project Jackson can move forward and will move forward,” said Belton Zeigler, a Columbia, S.C. attorney who represented North Augusta during the litigation. “The obstacles are cleared out of the way.”
North Augusta homeowner Stephen Donohue sued the city in December 2013, claiming the development area did not have blighted property required to amend a Tax Increment Financing District created in 1996. He also said the North Augusta City Council violated the Freedom of Information Act by holding executive sessions without disclosing to taxpayers that council members were discussing Project Jackson.
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