Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rezone On Oconee County Planning Commission Agenda Includes Proposal To Modify Historic Property

New Restaurant Proposed

A rezone request that would convert three pieces of property that front on Hog Mountain Road just west of Butler’s Crossing into a mixed use development with both retail stores and offices is before the Oconee County Planning Commission for review tomorrow night.

The property currently contains three houses, one of which is being used as a business, and abuts residential and agricultural properties at the rear.

Proposed New Restaurant

The house currently being used as a business is designated as historic and either will be extensively remodeled or removed to accommodate a restaurant, according to the rezone proposal

The Yarn House, 2411 Hog Mountain Road, is the current tenant.

The proposal is to add three additional commercial structures, including one facing Hillcrest Drive, and three office buildings at the rear to separate the businesses from the residential and agricultural properties.

Jones Corner

The project is being called Jones’s Corner.

The building where The Yarn House is located is called the Abe Jones House and is on the National Register of Historic Places, according to the database of the National Park Service.

The web site does not indicate the historical significance of the site.

The Oconee Historical Society does not include the property on its website’s list of historical properties in the county.

According to the narrative for the rezone, the historical house will be renovated or removed from the property and a replaced with another building with some of the existing building’s characteristics.

Specific Requests

The Planning Commission actually will be dealing with two different rezone requests, one to create the business portion of the project at the front of the property and the other to create the Office-Institutional-Professional portion at the rear.

The front part of the property currently is zoned OIP, A-1 (Agricultural) and B-1 (General Business). The request is to convert that portion of the project to B-1.

The rear of the property is OIP and A-1, and the request is to convert that to OIP.

The 6-acre-tract stretches across three separate properties, owned by Land Arts Inc., Nicholas M. and Jane P. Bath, and Bath Family Development LLC, all of 2430 Snows Mill Road, the residence of Nicholas and Jane Bath.

The owners will be the developers of the mixed use project.

The Planning Commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the courthouse in Watkinsville.

Staff Recommendation

The Oconee County Planning Department recommends approval of both rezone requests in its staff reports.

It places a condition on the rezone of the rear of the property that the developer install a 50-foot buffer between the development and the residential properties that it abuts.

Three of the proposed six new buildings to be added to the site will be at the rear. Two are 7,425 square feet in size, and the third is 5,400 square feet in size.

A 15,000-square-foot general retail building and a second 8,085-square-foot commercial building will be constructed west of the historic building.

The final building in the project will be a 3,750-square-foot structure east of the historic home and facing Hillcrest Drive.

Two single-family houses west of the historic building, one built in 1972 and the other in 1963, will be torn down.

A sign in front of the property indicates that the developers are interested in selling parcels of the land once it is rezoned.

Restaurant Plans

The historical home currently provides 3,210 square feet of space, according to the narrative for the project submitted with the rezone request.

The plan is to add 1,540 square feet to accommodate the plans for the restaurant.

The modification “may jeopardize the ability of the structure to retain its designation as a historic building,” according to the narrative. “The developer reserves the right to remove the building and construct a new building in its place,” the narrative states.

County tax records list the construction date of the building as 1930, but it also lists the building as a “REHAB. HIST. PROP.”

A Wikipedia entry for the property says it was listed on the National Historic Registry on Jan. 28, 1994, a date that also appears on the National Park Service site.

Landscaping And UDC

The historic building that will be converted to a restaurant currently is surrounded by large trees to the east, which, according to the rezone concept plan, will be cut down for a parking lot.

Market Center

The project narrative says that street trees, parking lot buffers, and parking lot tree plantings will meet the Oconee County Unified Development Code (UDC).

Owner and developer Jane Bath, who is a landscape designer, has been an outspoken critic of the UDC’s regulations on landscaping, saying that they restrict what developers can do to beautify their property.

She voiced her complaints to Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis, who directed Strategic and Long-Range Planning Director Wayne Provost and Planning Department Director B.R. White to set up a meeting with Bath to allow her to elaborate on her concerns.

That meeting took place in November of 2013.

Nearby Developments

Jones’ Corner will be across the street from and just west of Market Center, which recently added a DQ Grill and Chill Restaurant to its frontage on Hog Mountain Road.

To the west is Colony Square, another strip mall.

Stonebridge Partners LLC this summer revived plans for a 7.5-acre commercial project on Hog Mountain Road just east of the proposed Jones’ Corner.

The plans show pads for three structures, one for a building facing Hog Moutain Road and the other two off an extension of the current entrance to a small strip mall in which a new Subway is located. The plans do not show the intended use of the proposed buildings.

Legacy Business Park, east of Butler’s Crossing on Hog Mountain, also came back to life this spring, with a number of small buildings now completed and ready for tenants.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Thrive Senior Living Facility On Virgil Langford Road Received Building Permit From Oconee County

Projected To Open In July 2015

The Oconee County Code Enforcement Office issued a building permit on Thursday for construction of the 70-unit Thrive Senior Living facility on Virgil Langford Road in Resurgence Park.

Construction of the $6 million, upscale, assisted living facility to be known as The Village at Athens is expected to begin in two weeks and be completed by the end of July of 2015, according to the building permit.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lanes For Proposed Daniells Bridge Road Flyover Changed Again At Request Of Oconee County Commission Chairman

Four Or Two Possible

The plan to build the Daniells Bridge Road extension with a flyover of SR Loop 10 with only two lanes didn’t last long.

At a meeting yesterday morning, the Policy Committee of the Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS) changed the 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program document to say that the extension and flyover should be either two lanes or four.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Accepts Resignation Of Product Development Committee Chair

Time Demands Cited

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority accepted the immediate resignation of member John Morrison at its meeting on Monday.

Morrison was chair of Product Development Committee of the IDA, which released two reports to the Board of Commissioners in the last year.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Daniells Bridge Road Flyover Reduced From Four Lanes To Two, Citizens Learn At Meetings Tonight

Final Vote Tomorrow

The Daniells Bridge Road flyover of SR Loop 10 has been reduced from four-lanes to two-lanes in the Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS) 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program document on the agenda for approval tomorrow morning.

The document also has been altered to list the widening of Daniells Bridge to three-lanes all the way from Hog Mountain Road to the Oconee Connector, rather than just to Chestnut Hill Road.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Georgia Department Of Transportation Project Officials Vague On Who Initiated Request For Oconee County To Approve Three Road Projects

Called Group Effort

Georgia Department of Transportation Engineer Brandon Kirby said that the decision to send three project framework agreements to Oconee County for approval was the result of a “group effort.”

But he would not say who was in the group that decided it was time to move forward with the widening and reconstruction of Jimmy Daniell Road, the widening of Daniells Bridge Road, and the construction of an extension of Daniells Bridge Road with a flyover of SR Loop 10.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Compliance With Key Provisions Of Oconee County’s Beer and Wine Ordinance For Restaurants Has Been Loosely Monitored

Some Reports Now Required

From Oct. 7, 2008, when the Oconee County Board of Commissioners approved the first beer and wine licenses for restaurants in the county, until Jan. 1 of this year, compliance with two key provisions of the beer and wine ordinance was entirely on the honor system.

The county simply assumed that the percentage of sales from beer and wine by each license holder was not more than 25 percent of total sales in the individual restaurant and that each sale of an alcoholic beverage in the restaurant also included “a reasonable order of a meal or appetizer.”