Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Plans Filed For Gunter Property At Lavista Road With Oconee County Planning Department

Falls Of Oconee On Hold

Almost six years after the county rezoned 13 plus acres on U.S. 441 north of Watkinsville at Lavista Road, Fred Gunter Property LLC has submitted plans to begin construction of an office complex on the site.

The plans call for a single 12,000 square foot building on the southern part of the property, furthest from Lavista Road. Access would be off U.S. 441, with a right-turn only exit from the property.

Gunter Property From Lavista Road

Williams and Associates, representing Gunter Property, which owns the acreage, also has filed demolition plans with the county for the single family rental property on the site.

Williams and Associates and Gunter Property have not submitted plans for the remainder of the acreage, now zoned for Office-Institutional-Professional (OIP) use after a controversial rezone by the Oconee County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 6, 2009.

DRC Review

Williams and Associates, 2470 Daniells Bridge Road, filed the overall site plan and related documents for the property on Oct. 2. The documents provided details only for what was labeled Phase 1 of the project.

The plans show the single building, facing northeast, with 76 parking spaces in front.

While the building initially will be only 12,000 square feet in size, an additional 6,400 square feet are designated for future expansion.

Most of the acreage on the 4.7-acre parcel will be used for a stormwater management facility for the overall project.

The plans list the future use of the building as for professional offices.

Builder and developer Jeff Bell is the registered agent for Fred Gunter Property LLC, which lists its address in the state corporate database as 1040 Business Boulevard in Watkinsville.

The property is listed as for sale.

Original Zoning Request

The Board of Commissioners turned down a rezone request by Gunter Property in July of 2007.

The request was for B-2 Highway Business classification, and the plan was for a shopping center.

Many who live in the residential areas behind the property objected, saying that traffic from a shopping center would make access to and from their homes via Lavista Road nearly impossible.

When the request came back to the BOC in 2009 following the filing of a lawsuit, the Board denied the B-2 rezone request but approved an OIP rezone, which had not been requested.

No planning documents for the OIP use of the land had been submitted.

DRC Review

The documents submitted on Oct. 2 by Williams and Associates were reviewed by the county’s Development Review Committee at its meeting last Friday.

Representatives of six county departments participate in those meetings: Planning, Public Works, Code Enforcement, Environmental Health, Utility, and EMA/Fire.

Falls Of Oconee Site 10/18/2014

I did not attend the meeting, and official minutes have not yet been published, but comments on the submitted plans indicate at least one question asked was about buffers between the development and the adjoining neighborhood. I reviewed those documents on Friday.

The issues raised by the DRC must be addressed before Code Enforcement can issue a building permit.

Falls Of Oconee

Further north, on Old Macon Highway, site preparation continues for the Falls of Oconee project, a small shopping center with restaurants opposite the student Athens Ridge housing complex.

The project is being constructed on a site that previously was used for a convenience store and gas station.

Much of the foliage running up to McNutt Creek, with its falls at an old mill pond, has been removed, and the site is being leveled with fill from the Athens Ridge construction.

B.R. White, director of Planning and Code Enforcement for the county, told me on Friday that building permits for the project are on hold until the state Environmental Protection Division has certified that the underground gasoline storage tanks have been removed or decommissioned in a way to meet state standards.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Extends Purchase Contract For Clyde Armory For One Year

At Very Brief Meeting

The Oconee County Industrial Authority voted in a called meeting on Thursday morning to extend its purchase agreement with the owner of Clyde Armory until Nov. 15, 2015, for property the IDA owns south of SR 316 in the west of the county.

The IDA had agreed to the terms of the extension in an executive session at the end of its regular meeting on Oct. 13 but had not taken formal action in public. The meeting on Thursday was to make public the decision.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Oconee County Planning Commission To Review Plans For Another Medical Complex On Virgil Langford Road

New Phase: Three Sixteen Professional Quarter

The Oconee County Planning Commission will be asked tomorrow night to give its approval to the rezone of 14 acres at the corner of Virgil Langford Road and Jennings Mill Road that will be part of a 65-acre complex including medical and professional offices and a retirement community.

The project joins recently rezoned Resurgence Park, which now includes a dermatology and cancer center that is nearing completion and another retirement community under construction, in defining the area along Virgil Langford Road north of SR 316 as a medical office destination.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Oconee County Chamber Of Commerce Had Beautiful Weather For Its Fall Festival

250 Vendors

A big crowd turned out today on a picture-perfect fall Georgia Saturday to enjoy the Oconee County Fall Festival in downtown Watkinsville.

Vendors numbering 250 stretched from Main Street to beyond Thrasher Drive, with the heaviest concentration in Rocket Field opposite the old school gym.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Watkinsville’s Approach To Beer And Wine Ordinance Enforcement Matches That Of Oconee County

No Audits

The city of Watkinsville joins Oconee County in taking a lenient approach to enforcement of a key provision of its beer and wine ordinance.

License holders are required to document that they earn no more than 25 percent of their revenue from beer and wine, but, in the renewal applications for this year, only three of the four license holders provided information on food and beer and wine sales.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Enters Into Agreement For Assistance In Study of Prezoning

CVIOG Gets Contract

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority voted Monday to spend up to $8,000 for consulting services as it moves forward with its study of prezoning properties the county thinks should be designated for development.

The Authority accepted the recommendation of its Product Development Committee that it enter into an agreement with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government (CVIOG) at the University of Georgia for the consulting services.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Third Quarter SPLOST Revenue Grows Only Slightly As Oconee County Begins Voting On New SPLOST Referendum

Neighboring Counties Do Better

Oconee County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue increased by less than a percentage point in the third quarter of 2014, while neighboring Clarke and Barrow counties experienced strong growth.

The third quarter report included only about six weeks in which electronics retailer Best Buy was operating in the county, since tax distributions are a month delayed. But other major retailers in Epps Bridge Centre have been operating for nearly a year.