Monday, December 05, 2016

Revived Plans For Massive Residential And Commercial Complex Called Parkside Before Oconee County Review Committee

41 Lot Parcel

Parkside, the dormant residential and commercial development that extends from Hog Mountain Road to Mars Hill Road, has come back to life.

The Oconee County Development Review Committee is scheduled to consider a revised preliminary plat for seven phases of the 469-acre master plan development at its meeting on Friday morning.

The review committee also will review construction plans for a 41-lot section of the development that connects to Hog Mountain Road as well as two roadways linked to the 16 acres containing those 41 lots.

Parkside includes 810 residential lots on 253 acres, 110 acres of open space, and 50 acres of commercial development.

Parkside will require and holds capacity for residential sewer, putting additional pressure on the county as it struggles with its limited sewage capacity.

Rezoned In 2004

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners approved the rezone for Parkside in 2004 as part of a string of controversial master plan developments in the county.

Parkside (Click To Enlarge)

The development wraps around Northwest Woods, and residents complained that the massive development would adversely affect their neighborhood.

The development was described as the equivalent of a new city inside the county, with many expressing concerns about its impact on the county’s school system.

The revival of the project comes at a time when Oconee County School officials are expressing concern about the impact of increased residential development on the county’s schools.

Plant A Seed LLC

The 2004 rezone request was put forward by Plant A Seed LLC, but the developer listed on the site plans now is called Parkside Properties LLC, 2300 Pete Dickens Road, just outside the limits of Bogart.

Mark Jennings, a local developer, is listed as the contact person.

According to county tax records, the properties went through a series of banks before being purchased by Parkside Properties in 2013.

ABE Consulting, owned by Abe Abouhamdan, chair of the county’s Citizen Advisory Committee on Land Use and Transportation Planning, prepared the plans that will be before the Development Review Committee

Fenced Entrances

While much of the infrastructure for Parkside is in place, entrances to development off Mars Hill Road and Hog Mountain Road have been fenced for years.

The Seasons (Click To Enlarge)

The county did approve overall preliminary plats for the residential complex in 2005.

The plans for the 41 lots that are schedule to be reviewed on Friday are for a phase referred to as The Seasons At Parkside that will have access to Hog Mountain Road via the roadways called Amenity Circle and Dooley Connector.

The residential lots are small, with most being just 0.12 acres.

Average lot size for the 810 residential parcels in Parkside is just 0.31 acres.

Campaign Issue

The master plan developments spread around the county mostly were approved in retiring Board of Commissioner Chairman Melvin Davis’ first term, from 2001 to 2004, and have become an issue in the current campaign to fill the open spot on the Board.

A negative advertising mailed from the postal box of candidate Marcus Wiedower, but without any identifying source, attacked candidate Chuck Horton for his role in approving residential development when he was on the Commission from 2005 to 2012.

The ad showed dark images of homes clustered tightly together, as is the case with master planned developments, such as Grove Park, now visibly under development on Hog Mountain Road near Parkside.

The 2004 rezone for Parkside was before Horton joined the Commission but when Wiedower was working as a planner for Beall, Gonnsen and Company, the company that represented Plant A Seed in requesting the rezone. The company was a key advocate of master plan developments.

Horton and Wiedower both said the master plan developments in the county were a mistake in separate interviews I conducted with them in September.

Voting And DRC

Voting in the runoff is tomorrow, with the polling places open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Turnout in the election was light in early voting.

The Development Review Committee is made up of representatives of the Planning Department, the Public Works Department, the Office of Code Enforcement, the Department of Environmental Health, the Utility Department, and the Emergency Management Assistance/Fire Department.

The meeting on Friday starts at 9 a.m. in the Government Annex on Greensboro Highway on the south of Watkinsville.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Oconee County Has Rejected Request For Residential Sewer For Bogart Subdivision

On Council Agenda

The Bogart City Council tomorrow (Monday) night is scheduled to take up a residential rezone request in the city that has raised questions about the county’s willingness to grant sewer capacity for a residential development.

At the Planning Commission meeting on Nov. 14, Jon Williams, representing the developers, told the commissioners that the property owners were working with the county to provide residential service to the 37-lot single family subdivision.

Oconee County Board Of Commissioner Candidates Went Into Final Days Of Runoff With Money In Reserve

Early Voting Turnout Low

Chuck Horton raised slightly more money than Marcus Wiedower in the last days of October and November as the two competed in the special election for open Post 2 on the Oconee County Board of Commissioners.

Wiedower raised $3,793 and spent $17,818 with War Room Strategies, an Athens-based consulting firm, leaving him with a balance of $9,521 for the campaign going into the final vote on Tuesday, according to his campaign finance reports.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

RaceTrac To Open Remodeled Store At U.S. 441 And Hog Mountain Road By End Of Year

Complete Upgrade Underway

The remodeling of the RaceTrac store at the corner of Hog Mountain Road and U.S. 441 north of Watkinsville is in the final stages and should be completed by the end of the month, according to Karissa Bursch, communications manager for the the Atlanta-based company.

The new store will have a more modern store layout that includes updated building architecture, a new Swirl World frozen treat station, an expanded coffee area with more counter space, according to Bursch.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Oconee Commission Appoints Executive Director Of State Green Industry Association To Hard Labor Creek Management Board

Replaces Horton

Oconee County Commissioner Jim Luke lost his bid Tuesday night to keep fellow commissioners William “Bubber” Wilkes and Mark Saxon from removing former commissioner Chuck Horton from the Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir Management Board.

In a 2-1 vote, Wilkes and Saxon, over Luke’s objection, reappointed John Caudill as one of two citizen alternates on the Management Board but replaced Horton with Chris Butts, executive director of the Georgia Green Industry Association.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Proposed SR 316 Corridor Study Before Oconee Commission Includes Proposed Daniells Bridge Road Flyover

Dec. 6 Election To Play Role

When Oconee County Public Works Director Emil Beshara reviewed bids for the SR 316 corridor study at the Nov. 1 Board of Commissioners meeting, he made no mention of the proposed Daniell's Bridge Road flyover of SR Loop 10.

Bidders, however, knew the controversial project was to be a part of the study they were being asked to do.

Appointments To Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Board On Agenda For Oconee County Commission Again

Alcohol Ordinance Too

Oconee County Commissioners will be asked again on Tuesday to decide if they want to replace Chuck Horton as one of two citizen alternates on the Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir Management Board and appoint instead the executive director of the Georgia Green Industry Association.

The commissioners said at the beginning of the month that they expected that a special election to fill a vacancy on the Board of Commissioners would be settled by now, clarifying Horton’s eligibility for the spot.