Almost six years after the county rezoned 13 plus acres on U.S. 441 north of Watkinsville at Lavista Road, Fred Gunter Property LLC has submitted plans to begin construction of an office complex on the site.
The plans call for a single 12,000 square foot building on the southern part of the property, furthest from Lavista Road. Access would be off U.S. 441, with a right-turn only exit from the property.
|Gunter Property From Lavista Road|
Williams and Associates, representing Gunter Property, which owns the acreage, also has filed demolition plans with the county for the single family rental property on the site.
Williams and Associates and Gunter Property have not submitted plans for the remainder of the acreage, now zoned for Office-Institutional-Professional (OIP) use after a controversial rezone by the Oconee County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 6, 2009.
Williams and Associates, 2470 Daniells Bridge Road, filed the overall site plan and related documents for the property on Oct. 2. The documents provided details only for what was labeled Phase 1 of the project.
The plans show the single building, facing northeast, with 76 parking spaces in front.
While the building initially will be only 12,000 square feet in size, an additional 6,400 square feet are designated for future expansion.
Most of the acreage on the 4.7-acre parcel will be used for a stormwater management facility for the overall project.
The plans list the future use of the building as for professional offices.
Builder and developer Jeff Bell is the registered agent for Fred Gunter Property LLC, which lists its address in the state corporate database as 1040 Business Boulevard in Watkinsville.
The property is listed as for sale.
Original Zoning Request
The Board of Commissioners turned down a rezone request by Gunter Property in July of 2007.
The request was for B-2 Highway Business classification, and the plan was for a shopping center.
Many who live in the residential areas behind the property objected, saying that traffic from a shopping center would make access to and from their homes via Lavista Road nearly impossible.
When the request came back to the BOC in 2009 following the filing of a lawsuit, the Board denied the B-2 rezone request but approved an OIP rezone, which had not been requested.
No planning documents for the OIP use of the land had been submitted.
The documents submitted on Oct. 2 by Williams and Associates were reviewed by the county’s Development Review Committee at its meeting last Friday.
Representatives of six county departments participate in those meetings: Planning, Public Works, Code Enforcement, Environmental Health, Utility, and EMA/Fire.
|Falls Of Oconee Site 10/18/2014|
I did not attend the meeting, and official minutes have not yet been published, but comments on the submitted plans indicate at least one question asked was about buffers between the development and the adjoining neighborhood. I reviewed those documents on Friday.
The issues raised by the DRC must be addressed before Code Enforcement can issue a building permit.
Falls Of Oconee
Further north, on Old Macon Highway, site preparation continues for the Falls of Oconee project, a small shopping center with restaurants opposite the student Athens Ridge housing complex.
The project is being constructed on a site that previously was used for a convenience store and gas station.
Much of the foliage running up to McNutt Creek, with its falls at an old mill pond, has been removed, and the site is being leveled with fill from the Athens Ridge construction.
B.R. White, director of Planning and Code Enforcement for the county, told me on Friday that building permits for the project are on hold until the state Environmental Protection Division has certified that the underground gasoline storage tanks have been removed or decommissioned in a way to meet state standards.