Presbyterian Homes of Georgia is inviting Oconee County residents who had expressed an interest in moving into the proposed Presbyterian Village near Butler’s Crossing to come to a meeting on Nov. 7 to learn about the new plans for a similar facility on Rocky Branch Road.
The meeting comes just head of the Nov. 19 Oconee County Planning Commission meeting and the Dec. 4 Board of Commissioners meeting and gives Presbyterian Homes of Georgia a chance to rally support for the rezone, special use and variance request it is seeking for the Rocky Branch Road site.
A letter sent out under the name of PHG President Frank H. McElroy Jr. invites the Oconee County residents to “an informational meeting” at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 7 at Oconee Presbyterian Church on Hog Mountain Road just west of Butler’s Crossing.
|Oconee Presbyterian Church|
McElroy wrote in that letter that it was necessary to suspend the earlier project because of “deteriorating economic conditions,” which included “the soft real estate market and dramatic changes in the banking and finance industry.”
These factors “made it prudent that Presbyterian Village Athens-Oconee’s development wait for a more favorable economic climate,” the letter states.
“The Athens-Oconee economic outlook seems to be brightening,” McElroy wrote in his letter to Oconee County residents. He cited the Caterpiller plant and the Health Sciences Campus at the University of Georgia as examples of the improved climate.
“We are confident that with God’s continued blessing of our efforts, this Christian community will become a reality,” McElroy wrote.
Meeting for Depositors
The letter says that the meeting is for “depositors from our previous project,” who are asked to call a number or send an email to RSVP. I called that number on Friday and was told that the meeting is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about the project.
The meeting site, Oconee Presbyterian Church, 2601 Hog Mountain Road, is the church of Norm Grayson, a local and influential real estate agent who has been working behind the scenes to get this project approved. It also is the church of BOC member Chuck Horton.
McElroy informed Oconee County BOC Chairman Melvin Davis in early August that PHG was reviving its plans for its Presbyterian Village project in Oconee County, but not at the original site on Bishop Farms Parkway near Butler’s Crossing.
|Original Site for PHG|
Instead, PHG plans to use a mothballed subdivision across from Old Waverly subdivision and just west of Rowan Oak residential complex for the Continuing Care Retirement Facility. The closed subdivision is known at Autumn Glen.
As of Friday, the PHG application for Oconee County remains under review at the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, which must pass judgment on the project because of its regional impact.
BOC Chairman Davis said in an email message to the other four members of the Commission on Aug. 4 that he had received a call from real estate agent Grayson the day before about the PHG project.
“Norm wanted to share this information with us as a ‘heads up’,” Davis said in that message. Davis said that Grayson would be meeting with each of the commissioners individually to discuss “the tentative thoughts regarding the location of this facility on Rocky Branch Road.”
The property is owned by Autumn Glen LLC. Rod Wright is the registered agent for Autumn Glen.
Number of Depositors Not Known
Although Presbyterian Homes of Georgia is a nonprofit organization, and its tax records are public, it isn’t possible to know from those records how many people made a deposit as part of an application back in 2008 when the facility near Butler’s Crossing was proposed.
PHG, based in Quitman in south Georgia, is at the center of a web of nine linked corporations that provide housing and care facilities for senior citizens in Georgia. One of those entities is a for-profit corporation called Residential Rental Properties Inc., which tax records list as a wholly owned subsidiary PHG.
The corporations have no formal connection to the Presbyterian Church.
One of the nonprofit corporations is Westminster Presbyterian Homes Inc. According to the tax records, Westminster Presbyterian Homes is doing business as “Presbyterian Village Athens/OC.”
The 2008 tax records for Westminster Presbyterian Homes show that $3,392,777 was transferred into its account that year from Presbyterian Homes of Georgia and from Presbyterian Village, Austell, Inc. The Austell corporation contributed the bulk of those funds: $2,689,355.
Westminster listed assets minus liabilities for 2008 of $2,707,859, up from a negative $226,582 for the year earlier. The 2010 tax records for Westminster–the latest available–show net assets of $617,491.
In 2009, Westminster took a write down of $1,278,333 for the “Athens Project assets deemed unusable once the project is resumed, such as a hold on the land.”