Friday, July 29, 2016

High Point Farm Withdrawing Request To Operate Day Camp On Farmland In South Of Oconee County

On BOC Agenda

Greg Thaxton, president of High Point Farm, is asking the Oconee County Board of Commissioners to allow him to withdraw his application for a variance to operate a day camp on the 35 acres he owns at 3551 Colham Ferry Road in the south of the county.

The Board of Commissioners will entertain, and most likely, accept his request when the matter comes before it at its meeting on Tuesday evening.

The commissioners will consider another rezone for a small shopping center at the corner of Hog Mountain Road and U.S. 441. Possible tenants for the center are a restaurant with a drive through and a pharmacy.

Tuesday’s night agenda also includes discussion of possible referenda for the November 8 ballot that would allow Sunday sales of beer and wine in grocery, convenience and beverage stores and the sale of beer, wine and alcoholic drinks in restaurants.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

High Point Farm

Thaxton gave no reason for his decision to withdraw his application for a variance to operate the day camp on what is now High Point horse farm in the email message he sent to B.R. White, Planning Department director, late on Tuesday evening.

Neighbors surrounding his property spoke out strongly against the variance request at the Planning Commission meeting on July 18.

Those neighbors voiced concerns about noise and about traffic congestion on the single-lane gravel road leading to the property.

The Planning Commission voted 8 to 1 against recommending that the Board of Commissioners allow the variance for operation of the day camp on land zoned for agricultural use. The Planning Department staff also had recommended against the change.

The Board of Commissioners could reject the request by Thaxton and go forward with the scheduled hearing and vote on the variance request. The more likely outcome is for the BOC to simply accept the request and cancel the hearing.

Ray’s Corner

Toccoa 85, owned by King Howington, is requesting that a 1.7 acre triangular lot on the northwest corner of Hog Mountain Road and U.S. 441 be rezoned for highway business use for construction of a single-building shopping center.

Hang A Left Here

Possible uses of the shopping center, being called Ray’s Corner, are a pharmacy, convenience store, offices and restaurant.

One of the representative drawings submitted with the application shows a drive through window.

The county Public Works Department stated that if the drive through is for a restaurant, a traffic study could be required.

Left Turn Difficult

The property would have right-in and right-out access on U.S. 441, but the only full access, with left-in and left-out, would be on Hog Mountain Road.

That access would be via a stub of Old Hog Mountain Road that connects to the existing Hog Mountain Road opposite the entrance to the RaceTrac fuel station.

The left turn out would be into a turn lane of Hog Mountain Road onto U.S. 441, and the left-turn in would be via that same turn lane.

The corner already is known to long-time Oconee residents at Ray’s Corner. A general store once stood on the site.

Toccoa 85 acquired the property from Miriam Ray in 1998.

Sunday Sales

Without any prior notice to the public, Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis put discussion of Sunday sales of alcohol on the BOC agenda for its July 19 meeting.

Commissioners Jim Luke and Mark Saxon said that they needed more feedback from citizens before they were ready to move ahead with a vote to put the issue on the ballot in November.

Davis suggested the county put an advertisement in The Oconee Enterprise to notify people of the discussion on Tuesday, and a two-column by four-inch notice appeared on page A10 of yesterday’s (Thursday’s) paper.

County Attorney Daniell Haygood advised the Board at the July 19 meeting that it would have to conduct two referenda, one for package sales and the other for restaurant sales.

The county’s ordinance would have to be modified to allow Sunday sales and to specify the times during which alcohol would be sold, he said.

In the draft ordinance Haygood has prepared for the meeting on Tuesday, Sunday sales would be allowed from 12:30 p.m. until midnight.

Other Agenda Items

The Board on Tuesday also will appoint members to the Cultural Affairs and Tourism Committee, the Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee, the Planning Commission, and the Recreational Affairs Committee.

The Commission usually makes decisions on committee appointments in executive session, and it held such a session after its meeting on July 19.

The Commission also will decide how to respond to an invoice from CSX Transportation Inc. of Jacksonville for $5,125 for boring under the railroad tracks just west of Burson Avenue in Bogart.

The bore is for an 8-inch sewer pipe that is part of the county’s efforts to upgrade sewer services to Bogart.

Benson’s Bakery, one of the county’s two industrial sewer customers, is on the northeast corner of Burson Avenue and the railroad tracks.

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