Saturday, November 01, 2014

Oconee County Development Authority Selling Land On SR 316 For Use As Shooting Range

Clyde Has Contract

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority has entered into a contract to sell Andrew Clyde of Clyde Armory 18 acres south of SR 316 so Clyde can build a shooting range on the site.

Clyde will need to get a change in zoning for the land, now classified for agricultural use, before he can build the shooting range.

Zoning changes are made by the Oconee County Board of Commissioners, and six of the IDA’s 11 members are appointed by the Board of Commissioners.

Triangle's Point

BOC Chairman Melvin Davis serves on the IDA as an ex-officio member.

The land surrounding the proposed shooting range also is zoned agricultural, but most of the small tracts have homes on them, and the area is residential in character.

Gateway Park

The IDA owns the land Clyde is under contract to buy as part of its Gateway Technology and Business Park, most of which is located north of SR 316 on the southern edge of Bogart.

The site proposed for the shooting range is part of a triangle created by SR 316, McNutt Creek Road and Pete Dickens Road.

The site Clyde is under contract to buy consists of two non-adjoining properties, one 4.8 acres in size and the other 13.4 acres. The larger tract has access to McNutt Creek Road, while the smaller tract is closer to but does not have direct access to Pete Dickens Road.

The two parcels originally were part of the larger properties north of SR 316 that form the core of Gateway Park.

IDA Contract Extension

In July of last year, the IDA agreed to sell the 18 acres to Clyde, who owns Clyde Armory, 4800 Atlanta Highway in Athens-Clarke County, for $203,472.

In July of this year, the IDA moved the closing date on the property to Nov. 15 of this year.

On Oct. 16, the IDA voted to extend its purchase agreement with Andrew Clyde until Nov. 15, 2015. That decision had been made by the IDA on Oct. 13 in an executive session, which Clyde attended.

Proposed Shooting Range
Behind Houses On Left

No indication was given in the public meetings of the reasons for the extension of the contract.

Mary Lenihan, who gave her email address as with Partner Engineering and Science Inc., a national firm with offices in Atlanta, filed an open records request with the county on Aug. 12 asking about the zoning classification for the property as well as information on underground and above ground storage tanks and permits for wastewater discharge.

Brad Callender from the Oconee County Planning Department also went into the executive session on Oct. 13.

Rezone Application

The proposed use of the property Clyde has under contract has not been discussed in the public parts of the various IDA meetings, but someone left a comment on my posting on Oct. 26 about Clyde’s plans for the property.

B.R. White, director of the Oconee County Planning Department, told me on Tuesday (Oct. 28) that Clyde has not yet filed an application for rezoning of his property but confirmed he has inquired about rezoning the property for a shooting range.

I talked with Clyde at his business by telephone the next day and asked about his plans for the property, but he said “There is nothing I can actually discuss right now.”

Clyde lives in Jackson County.

According to the county’s Unified Development Code, Clyde would be applying for “archery and shooting range” in the general category of Arts, Entertainment and Amusement use.

Such a use would be allowed with a special use permit in the A-1 Agricultural District in which the property currently is zoned.

Clyde also could apply for a B-1 General Business District, B-2 Highway Business District, or TB Technology Business District zoning category, in which a shooting range would be allowed.

IDA and Prezoning

The IDA interjected itself--at the encouragement of the BOC--into a broader zoning issue by recommending in August that the county pre-zone all parcels in corridors along both SR 316 and U.S. 78 consistent with the county’s intended long-term use of the land.

The property owned by the IDA and under contract to Clyde would fall in such a corridor, given that it borders SR 316.

Under the current zoning laws, the IDA, as owner of the 18 acres Clyde is to buy, could have requested a rezone of the property from its current designation.

Landowners seeking to sell property for commercial use often get the rezone first to make the land more marketable, and the IDA rezoned its land north of 316 to Technology Business District before selling a part of that land for a biopharmaceutical plant.

For the 18 acres south of SR 316, he IDA has left that rezone responsibility to Clyde, who is unlikely to close the deal on the property until he is assured one way or the other that he will get the rezone he wants.


Anonymous said...

What in the heck is going on in this county?!!

Taxpayers entrusted the county commissioners to form an Industrial Development Authority...a shooting range is not INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT!!

How does a shooting range fit into the Gateway Technology and Business Park???

Why can't Mr. Andrew Clyde, a non-county resident, build his pet project shooting range in his own Jackson County??

The IDA is out of control, and does not represent the interests of Oconee County citizens. We are going to b Gwinnett County soon, with traffic, ugly trip malls, no soul, no identity, etc.

Thank you Rick Waller and Melvin Davis. When is Melvin up for re-election?

Xardox said...

Oh, yeah, a shooting range in the midst of industry and homesteads makes lots of sense.
What, Jackson County is full?
No worry though. Cash on the barrel-head and friends in high places.

Anonymous said...

I live in this area. Have small kids that play in the yard. We did NOT want a recycling plant / trash field here. Nor do we want a shooting range! I'm not opposed to business, but put something in our community that will benefit the people in this county.

Anonymous said...

Don't need a shooting range. Not industrial development. Go farther afield--away from residential areas...PLEASE!

Beanne said...

I don't live in that part of the county, but I sure would never want a shooting range near my home/farm. It definitely is not an industrial development option. When do you think they'll make this public? Those of you who live in that area should organize now.

Anonymous said...

Agree with all of the above comments. A shooting range is nowhere close to "industry" as I understand it. But then again, depending on who you know.....

Anonymous said...

I don't see how a shooting range fulfills the gateway and technology role. To answer someone's earlier question, this can be found on the Oconee website,,

Lee Becker said...

Thank you for answering this question. Davis first was elected in 2000. Terms are for four years. He will be up for reelection--if he chooses to run--in 2016.

Beanne asked when the county will make public the plans for the property. When Clyde files his request for a rezone, those documents become public. He has not filed those documents yet, though he has discussed his plans with the planning staff.

The public will have two opportunities to comment on whatever rezone plans are filed. The first is at a public hearing before the Planning Commission. The second is at a public hearing before the BOC itself. The process usually takes several months.


Anonymous said...

If you want a gun range, take it away from a community that wants peace, and harmony.

Anonymous said...

Peace and harmony? You'll never hear the first shot fired. We are talking state of the art technology here. This won't be bubba and the boys out on a dirt road shooting cans and bottles they picked up. If you don't want it there then out bid Clyde and buy it yourself.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 2:39, you so completely miss the point...Bless Your Heart. A gun range owned by a carpetbagger non-county resident has absolutely NO BUSINESS in a county authority owned industrial park. This was not the intent of taxpayers/county residents who entrusted the IDA to recruit industrial business, tech business, research companies, etc.

An epic failure and breach of trust by Melvin Davis and Rick Waller.

mentok said...

Wow lots of hysterical objections here.
First, a shouting range isn't a place where you would ever hear or see a gun unless you were inside of it. In all likelihood it isn't going to be an open air shoot-holes-in-cars affair.

Second, industrially zoned property is definitely the most appropriate for such a place. Certainly, every indoor range I've seen has been within an industrial use area. If you don't agree, please name the more appropriate place.

Third, who cares if a business owner doesn't live in Oconee? Should caterpillar take a hike?

Please note, I don't own a gun and I'm all for more scrutiny of the IDA.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 11:45, I didn't miss any point. I was replying to the peace and harmony comment. Since you brought it up. Firearms are an industry. Clyde sells mainly to law enforcement so one would assume that the firing range would be so law enforcement can come in and actually test weapons before purchase. Hopefully this will also have a training aspect which will further the tax revenue as other counties, state and possibly even federal agencies come to Oconee and spend money on hotels, food and gas.

The only failure here is your misunderstanding of a world wide industry. Do you think that only Oconee residents will choose to develop in the business park?

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, guns may be an industry, but a shooting range is not industry. It is recreation, which is what he is having it zoned for. It doesn't belong there.