Presbyterian Homes of Georgia is back with yet another attempt to locate a continuing care retirement center in Oconee County.
Plans filed with the Oconee County Planning Department on Monday call for construction of a $120 million complex on just more than 70 acres fronting both on U.S. 441 and Wellbrook Road.
The project also abuts six lots in Crystal Hills, four of which have houses already built on them, agricultural land of the University of Georgia, tracts currently zoned residential on Hog Mountain Road opposite RaceTrac gas station, and an existing business on U.S. 441.
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The scope of the project qualifies it as a Development of Regional Impact, B.R. White, head of the Oconee County Planning Department, told me on Friday afternoon. He said the project would be sent to the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission for review, probably on Monday.
The 70 acres on which the project is to be built will need to be rezoned from the current business designation to Office Institutional Professional (OIP) use. That change requires approval of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners.
The zoning change application is the third filed in Oconee County by Presbyterian Homes of Georgia since 2008.
In May of 2013, the company withdrew is plans to put a continuing care retirement community in the dormant Autumn Glen subdivision on Rocky Branch Road, citing the high costs of a county requirement that it build a new sewer line along Barber Creek for the project.
PHG was seeking a high-density residential classification for that project.
PHG sought and received an Office-Institutional-Professional rezone for property at Limmerick Drive off Experiment Station Road in May of 2008. PHG never disclosed why it did not build on that property, located near the campus of what is now the University of North Georgia.
Three Multi-Story Buildings
The proposed continuing care retirement center now under consideration would include three multi-story buildings in the area of the development closest to U.S. 441.
The first of these would be a three-story building with three separate pods providing for 75 independent apartment units.
The second would be a two-story village center that could include a main kitchen and dining areas, a fitness center, a physical therapy center and an indoor pool.
A third building, three stories in height, would be a health services center, providing three distinct levels of care for memory support, assisted living and skilled nursing. It would include 100 residential units.
Villas And Cottages
The PHG facility calls for 13 villas, each divided into two attached units. These are to located close to the multi-story buildings, with four of them backing up to U.S. 441.
In addition, the center is proposed to include 143 single-family, detached cottages between the multi-story buildings and Crystal Hills and in the area along Wellbrook Road.
An amenity area is proposed in the center of the cluster of cottages closest to Wellbrook Road.
A support services building is to be constructed close to Tribe Fitness center, which will remain as a business enclave surrounded by the PHG property.
Three New Lots Created
The property that PHG proposes to develop currently consists of two separate parcels totaling 79.9 acres.
One of these is owned by the Marjorie B. Maxey Life estate, and the other by Crystal Hills LLLP.
The proposal is to create three residential lots, each facing on Wild Azalea Lane, to be retained by Crystal Hills LLLP and developed separately from the PHG center. They will be rezoned from business to residential use.
Crystall Hills LLLP lists its address at 1026 Twelve Oaks Drive, which is off Hog Mountain Road east of Butler’s Crossing.
PHG has retained Williams and Associates, a land planning company with offices at 2470 Daniells Bridge Road, to represent it in the development process.
The current project is listed as under the direction of the PHG office in Duluth. PHG, based in Quitman, has no formal connection to the Presbyterian Church.
Residential Vs. Business
The main entrance to the project would be off U.S. 441 opposite Lavista Road. A secondary entrance would be off Wellbrook Road.
The two tracts were rezoned for business use in 1994.
The property between U.S. 441 and Wellbrook Road was to be an office and retail development.
The property on U.S. 441 and Wild Azalea Lane was to be a shopping center.
The residential component of the PHG project and the three residential lots on Wild Azalea Lane are more compatible with current development than the uses proposed in 1994.
Williams and Associates, representing the owners of the 13 acres across U.S. at Lavista Road, submitted plans late last year to begin construction of an office complex on that site.
Oconee Vs. Athens
On Nov. 14 of last year, Frank H. McElroy Jr., president of Presbyterian Homes, sent out a memo indicating that the company was considering two sites for a local facility.
According to the memo, one site was in Oconee County and the other was in Athens-Clarke County.
The memo said PHG was working with Williams and Associates on the possible sites and expected to make a decision by February of 2015.