Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Oconee County Planning Commission Recommends Partial Change in Pebble Creek Subdivision Rezone Conditions

Confused Slab Request

The Oconee County Planning Commission tonight rejected the request by the new owner of Pebble Creek subdivision to be allowed to build smaller homes on the now-vacant subdivision on SR 15 in the far south of the county.

The group did recommend that CAAT Holdings LLC be allowed to build the homes on slabs rather than with basements or crawl spaces, provided the slab construction meets current code standards.

Oconee County Planner Brad Callender told me following the meeting that code requires that the slabs be raised off the ground.

Land Planner Ken Beall, representing CAAT, told the Planning Commission that he was only asking for permission to build on raised slabs, but attorney Jim Warnes, who also spoke on behalf of CAAT, said CAAT wants to be able to build on at-grade slabs as well.

World Has Changed

Beall said he was making the request because “We don’t live in the same world” as when the requirements for larger homes sizes with basements or crawl spaces were approved.

Planning Commission member Dan Webber made the motion to “allow for the inclusion of slabs, per the code,” and that motion passed with nine votes in favor and only two in opposition.

Commission member Chuck Hunt had made the motion to allow CAAT to build 1,800-square-foot-homes in the subdivision rather than the 2,700 square feet required when the property initially was rezoned in 2004, but that motion failed in a 7-4 vote.

The 2004 rezone also specified that the homes be constructed on crawl spaces or basement foundations. Slab-on-grade homes were not allowed.

Four people living in nearby property spoke against the request for a modification in the 2004 rezone ordinance, saying the changes would adversely affect their property values. Only Beall and Warnes spoke in favor.

Professional Park Approved

In other action tonight, the Planning Commission approved a request for a rezone from Business and Office-Institutional-Professional use to simply Office-Institutional-Professional of a 14.5-acre tract on the north side of Virgil Langford Road between the Oconee Connector and SR 316.

Beall also represented the applicant, Virgil and Hilda Langsford. Oconee Medical Properties LLC has a purchase contract on the property, according to the application, and wants to construct nine buildings totaling 102,060 square feet on the land.

Beall said the $20 million project reflected the need for office, rather than business, space in the area.

Planning Commission decisions are only recommendations to the Oconee County Board of Commissioners. That group is scheduled to take up the zoning requests at its Feb. 12 meeting.

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