Sunday, October 11, 2015

Oconee County To Hold A Hearing On A Landfill, Discuss An Overlay District, Consider Zoning For A Business Park–All On Tuesday

Landfill Permit Denied

Oconee County is holding three meetings on Tuesday dealing with a permit for the county’s inert landfill, the Mars Hill Road Overlay District, and a rezone request for a business park at the corner of the U.S. 441 bypass and New High Shoals Road.

Two of the meetings actually overlap.

The county will hold a hearing from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the conference room at the Government Annex building, 1291 Greensboro Highway (SR 15), on the south side of Watkinsville, to get citizen input on the inert landfill.

The county was informed in August that its request for a permit to continue operating its landfill in the south of the county just north of Heritage Park has been denied.

The Citizen Advisory Committee for Land Use and Transportation Planning announced on Thursday that it plans to discuss the proposed Mars Hill Overlay District at its meeting at the Community Center in Veterans Park, starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

The agenda item is a surprise, as Bill Ross, county consultant on the overlay district project, had told the Board of Commissioners at its meeting on Sept. 29 that he would present his proposed ordinance to the Land Use Committee at its meeting on Nov. 10.

The Board of Commissioners, meeting at 7 p.m. in the Courthouse in Watkinsville, will take up the rezone request for a business park on the nearly 10 acres just north of Thomas Orchard just outside the Watkinsville city limits.

Inert Landfill

The county posted the required notice about the permit for the inert landfill early last month, but there has been little publicity about the request since, and the meeting is not listed on the county’s calendar on its website.

 Rezone From Bishop Farms Parkway
On Rainy 10/10/2015

The landfill address is 2721 Macon Highway (U.S. 441), and the county operated a sanitary landfill there from 1987 to 1993.

Within the 60-acre-tract of the original landfill is a 10-acre parcel that, post closure of the sanitary landfill, the county has continued to operate as an inert landfill.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division amended its rules in 2013 to require inert landfills in existence at that time to obtain a solid waste handing permit by Dec. 1, 2014.

Permit Request Denied

The county submitted an application for the permit, which the EPD reported receiving on May 29, 2014.

The EPD on Dec. 24, 2014, granted the county an extension of the permitting deadline until July 1, 2015.

On June 29 of this year the county submitted additional materials and asked for an extension of the July 1 deadline.

On July 22 the EPD told the county that the application was incomplete, and on Aug. 18 the EPD told Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis that the application has been denied because the county did not meet the July 1, 2015 deadline.

As a result, the EPD told Davis, the county has until Feb. 18, 2016, to “cease receipt of waste and complete closure” of the facility.

Still Seeking Permit

County Public Works Director Emil Beshara told me on Sept. 18 that the county is still attempting to get a permit for the facility and hopes to have it in place by the February deadline.

The public hearing is part of that process.

In the application materials already submitted, the county said it will accept only “earth and earth-like products such as concrete, cured asphalt, rock, bricks, yard trimmings, stumps, limbs and leaves” at the site.

The county is proposing to use a newly designed 5.5 acre part of the 10-acre tract that was being used as an inert landfill.

Included in the proposed plan is construction of two wet detention ponds to control on-site runoff.

Ross Not To Attend

County Planning Department Director B.R. White told me on Friday that he did not expect consultant Ross to attend the meeting of the Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee on Tuesday night.

White said he was trying to adjust his own schedule so that he could be in attendance. White normally would attend the Board of Commissioners meeting when a rezone hearing is being held.

The county on Wednesday uploaded to its web site a revision to the original overlay district proposed ordinance that Ross presented to the public on Sept. 17.

The revision eliminates references to townhouses as allowed uses except in those cases where the land already is zoned for that purpose.

Ross told the BOC last month he was going to make the changes because the county does not have sewage capacity to be allocated for future residential use.

Dolvin Property

The property on the southwest corner of New High Shoals Road and U.S. 441 is owned by Ralph Len Dolvin of Greensboro.

The proposal is to rezone just less than three acres in the corner itself for commercial retail use. The rezone narrative lists a drug store and general commercial building as possible uses.

The remaining roughly seven acres would be used for three business lots.

Halloran Masonry, a construction contractor currently located at 3100 Lexington Road, Athens, plans to construct and own a new corporate office on the lot closest to the Thomas Orchard property, according to the rezone narrative.

The Planning Commission last month recommended approval of the rezone.

Other Rezone Hearings

The Board of Commissioners also will hear a rezone request from National EMS Inc. for an operations center for ambulance services inside Lampkin Branch Business Park, located on U.S. 441 north of Experiment Station Road.

The Planning Commission recommended approval of that request.

The BOC will consider a request for a hardship variance so that an undeveloped lot in the existing small strip shopping center at the corner of Epps Bridge Parkway and Parkway Boulevard can be divided into two parcels.

The rezone narrative says one will be developed as a car wash and the other will be developed as a restaurant.

The Planning Commission does not review hardship variance requests.

A request by Faye Kellar to rezone a piece of property on Mars Hill Road has been withdrawn from the agenda on Tuesday night at the request of Kellar.

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