Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Presbyterian Homes Of Georgia Abandoning Plans For Rocky Branch Road Facility

County Not Yet Notified

Presbyterian Homes of Georgia has decided to abandon its plans to put a continuing care retirement community in the dormant Autumn Glen subdivision on Rocky Branch Road.

In a letter dated yesterday sent to those who expressed an interest in living in the facility, Frank H. McElroy Jr., president and CEO of the south Georgia company, said that the requirement by the county that PHG install a gravity-fed sewer line to connect to the county sewage system killed the project.

“Installing gravity flow sewer would require obtaining 31 easements for rights of way to install the sewer line across various properties along the sewer route,” McElroy wrote. He labeled that “an impossible task for a non-county entity without the power of eminent domain.”

Concept Plan for Sewer Line

McElroy said the unavailability of sewer for the Autumn Glen property without the required sewer line led to “the decision to withdraw our request for rezoning and move ahead to consider several other location prospects for our retirement community.”

The letter does not indicate what other prospects are being considered and ended by saying “We will work diligently to bring you good news and will keep you informed as the work continues.”

Planning Staff Not Notified

B.R. White, director of the Oconee County Planning Department, told me late this afternoon that his office had not yet been notified by PHG of its change in plans.

White said the office was to send out a notice next week to the company so it could prepare for the June 17 Planning Commission meeting.

PHG announced just before the Dec. 10 Planning Commission meeting that it wanted to postpone consideration of its request and come back to the Commission in June.

White said he would need to have the copy for the required legal advertisement ready for submission to The Oconee Enterprise, the county’s designated legal organ, by May 23 so it could run in the paper on May 30.

PHG Announced Plans In August

PHG President Frank McElroy informed Oconee County officials in early August that PHG was reviving its plans for its Presbyterian Village project, which it first proposed in the county in 2008 on a site near Butler’s Crossing.

Autumn Glen from Old Waverly Entrance

Instead of the original site, PHG said it planned to use the undeveloped Autumn Glen subdivision across from Old Waverly subdivision and just west of the Rowan Oak residential complex for the continuing care retirement facility.

PHG asked the county to change the existing zoning for the Autumn Glen property from R-1 Single-Family Residential District to R-3 Multi-Family Residential District.

Because the R-3 category allows for a continuing care retirement community only as a special use, PHG also was asking for special use approval.

Sewer Line Issue

As McElroy’s letter of yesterday indicated, PHG had hoped the county would allow it install a pump station to access the county’s sewage facilities.

Instead, the county said it wants to avoid the cost of maintaining additional pump stations in the future and that PHG would have to build a gravity sewer line along Barber Creek as a condition for rezoning the 96 acres for the project

That sewer line was estimated to cost $1.2 million and would require PHG to get easements on its own from 31 property owners, some of whom have been vocal opponents of the rezone request.

McElroy’s letter went out on the letterhead of the PHG Office of Development in Duluth. One person who received it today informed me of it and sent me a copy.

PHG, based in Quitman, has no formal connection to the Presbyterian Church.


Eugene said...


Thank you for your consistent hard work as a citizen of Oconee County. Your efforts have encouraged many of us, who previously refrained from active community involvement, to engage with others of like mind. Your experience and willingness to serve has given our combined voices greater clarity and credibility.

We expect the very best from our elected officials; however, without responsible, positive, citizen involvement mediocrity will quickly become the norm.


Gene Mobley

Lee Becker said...

Thank you, Gene. How very kind of you to say this.