Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oconee County Lowe’s on Epps Bridge Parkway Wants to Change its Parking Lot

Add Two Buildings

Lowe’s Home Center on Epps Bridge Parkway, which lost one entrance when Jennings Mill Parkway was raised, will shift another and alter the traffic pattern for its parking lot if changes recommended by the Oconee County Planning Commission last night are approved by the Board of Commissioners on March 6.

The main entrance to the parking lot off Epps Bridge Parkway will be shifted south, and two out lots will be created on either side of the entrance.

One of those will be occupied by a Kauffman Tire store. The other doesn’t have a firm tenant, according to Brad Callender, Oconee County planner. The “representative photo” submitted with the plans is for a Verizon Wireless store.

The Planning Commission approved the requested change in the existing B-1 zoning classification with minimal discussion last night.

More controversial was a rezone request by Samuel F. Border and Jacqueline M. Border to rezone their 15-acre lot on the west side of SR 15 in the south of the county. The official address is 4560 Greensboro Highway.

The Planning Commission recommended to the Board of Commissioners that this request be turned down.

Two houses exist on the lot, which is zoned for agricultural and residential use, and the Borders want to split off 5 acres that include one of the houses.

Neighbors objected, saying such a change would decrease the value of their houses, which sit on large lots.

One of the two houses, which, according to tax records, consists of 2,676 square feet of space, was approved as a farm tenant dwelling when it was built in 2007. Such a building is supposed to be used by someone employed on the farm.

Susan Feldman, one of the neighbors, said the land is not farmed at all.

Callender told me today that there are no size restrictions on farm tenant buildings.

The problem, he said, is that the building was approved at 1,500 square feet of space and a certificate of occupancy was granted for a building of 1,500 square feet of space. The septic permit is for 1,500 square feet of space, he said.

“We have no record of how it got to be 2,676 square feet,” Callender said.

The other house, built in 1996, has 5,292 square feet of space, according to tax records.

After discussion, Commission member Bill Yarbrough made the motion to recommend denial of the request, and Commission member Penny Mills seconded.

The motion was approved unanimously.

Construction of the two buildings at the front of the Lowe’s store is expected to take 21 months. The project is valued at $2 million.

Lowe’s is proposing to create an access drive on the existing parking lot to connect the two out lots to the Oconee Connector and the existing access drive to the neighboring Wal-Mart site.

Each of the new lots will be about an acre, leaving about 15 acres for the Lowe’s store and parking lot.

Prior to the reconstruction of Jennings Mill Parkway, which now is called the Oconee Connector, Lowe’s had two entrances off that roadway. The road was raised in reconstruction, resulting in the closing of one of the entrances.

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hold public hearings on the Lowe’s and Borders’ rezone requests before making a decision on March 6.

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