The Oconee County Planning Commission was concerned about traffic on Hog Mountain Road in its rezone hearings on Monday night, but not where Hog Mountain Road meets U.S.441 at Ray’s Crossing.
Instead the Commission was focused on the impact of two proposed fast food restaurants with drive through operations on school traffic just west of Butler’s Crossing.
The Commission recommended in a 9 to 1 vote against the rezone for the fast food restaurants and approved by the same vote the rezone for a small shopping center tucked in the northwest corner of the busy intersection of Hog Mountain Road and U.S. 441.
The Planning Commission also recommended the rezone of 30 acres on the west side of Mars Hill Road and SR 316 west of U.S. 78 for an electric supply business and of an acre in Bogart for an office and showroom.
The recommendation for the Bogart rezone goes to the Bogart City Council July 11 for final action, while the recommendations for the other three rezones are scheduled to be on the agenda of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners on July 5.
Land Planner Ken Beall told the Planning Commission his client, Stonebridge Partners LLC, had someone interested in putting the two fast food restaurants on just less than two acres west of Butler’s Crossing and near Oconee Elementary School and Oconee Middle School.
|Bill Yarbrough, Right, Led|
Opposition To Restaurants
Beall didn’t identify the company or restaurants, but a representation of one of the buildings he provided showed a Bojangles chicken and biscuit store.
The Commissioners expressed concern for the increased traffic across from the schools and the implications for traffic flow, particularly in the morning as parents drop their children off at the two schools.
The area already has a number of fast food restaurants, and the Commissioners were convinced it doesn’t need any more.
The Oconee County Planning Department staff report listed 3,492 Average Daily Trips resulting from the rezone.
The concept plan shows an entrance directly on Hog Mountain Road and a connection to the existing entrance for the small strip center to the east of the restaurants, but Beall said the state ultimately would determine access to Hog Mountain Road, which at that point is a state route.
The Planning Commission expressed only a modicum of concern about the consequences of the development of a single-building shopping center at what was once called Ray’s Crossing. The shopping center is to revive that name.
The Commission added an exclusion of a fuel station to the rezone conditions because of that concern.
Abe Abouhamdan, representing the land owner, Toccao 85 LP, accepted that restriction but said he wanted to retain the right to include a convenience store. A pharmacy also is mentioned in the planning documents.
Abouhamdan is the chair of the county’s Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee.
Residents of Lake Wellbrook subdivision and Phinizy Court had been very vocal last May when the county rezoned land fronting on Welbrook Road and U.S. 441 for a Presbyterian Homes of Georgia continuing care retirement center.
They claimed the Welbrook Road intersection with Hog Mountain Road, as well as the Hog Mountain Road and U.S. 441 intersection, already were very congested.
No citizens spoke in favor of or in opposition to any of the rezone requests on Monday night.
The planning documents for the rezone indicate 492 Average Daily Trips generated by the rezone.
Left Turn Options
The proposed shopping center will have right-in and right-out access from U.S. 441 very near the Hog Mountain Road intersection.
It also will have access to a stub of Old Mog Mountain Road and via that stub to Hog Mountain Road opposite the entrance to the RaceTrac fuel station.
Oconee County Public Works Director Emil Beshara told me in an email message on Tuesday that traffic would be allowed to turn left on to Hog Mountain Road across the single lane of oncoming traffic and into the two lanes of traffic flowing from Hog Mountain Road to U.S. 441.
Beshara said drivers wishing to travel north on U.S. 441 from the shopping Center also could exit via the right-out on U.S. 441 and immediately cross two lanes of traffic and make at U-turn at the Hog Mountain Road intersection.
The full video of the Planning Commission meeting is below.
NOTE: In response to the request in the comment, I am posting the link to the concept plan HERE.