Sunday, August 28, 2016

Grove Park Master Plan Development On Hog Mountain Road Dependent On Oconee County’s Limited Sewage Treatment Capacity

Houses Close Together

Drivers traveling on Hog Mountain Road heading west from Butler’s Crossing in recent months have come upon a collection of tightly clustered, similarly designed homes facing the roadway.

Further from the road, additional homes are being built, with a total of 45 dwelling units planned for the subdivision.

Grove Park is unusual in one significant way.

It is being built around a 2-acre lot with a home that was not incorporated into the development.

Grove Park, however, is similar to other master plan developments (MPDs) spread around the county, some under construction and some mothballed.

The homes in Grove Park and the other MPDs can be built close together because the county has promised the developers sewer service, and the homes are not built with septic systems.

Plat Approved

The county began issuing permits for Grove Park only in January of this year, though the project was rezoned back in 2005.

Houses Facing Hog Mountain Road

The Board of Commissioners approved that rezone despite the fact that it did not incorporate a property owned by Carolyn Hoeker (or Howker, the tax records use both spellings) sitting in the middle of the subdivision.

The county approved a revised preliminary plat for the subdivision in November of 2013.

That plat shows four rows of tightly clustered houses back to back, with the first row–the one already built--facing Hog Mountain Road.

A fifth row contains four houses and a small “neighborhood park" of 5,275 square feet.

The four rows of houses stacked behind the first row will look much like the row completed.

Commercial Property

The existing homes in that first row are built on lots ranging in size from 5,745 square feet to 6,694 square feet, and the four rows behind that first row have similarly sized lots. One lot is as small as 5,002 square feet in size.

Larger lots sit just to the west of the already built row of houses and on the rear of the property, though those lots in the rear are mostly sized from 5,000 to 6,500 square feet.

The subdivision contains a retention pond at the rear and a pool next to the Hoeker home.

Five commercial building sit in two large lots facing Hog Mountain Road east of the row of homes already built.

Permits Issued

The county has been issuing building permits for Grove Park throughout the year, and it issued six on Aug. 17.

The permits for three of the five houses in the completed front row were issued in January, and the permits for the remaining two were issued in April.

All of the buildings are on at-grade slabs and are two stories tall.

They have three or four bedrooms and two or three full baths.

Total heated square footage ranges from 2,138 to 2,444.

Estimated construction costs for each is $125,000.

Distances And Sewers

The front yard setback on the houses is 10 feet, and the side yard setback is five feet, meaning the houses are 10 feet apart.

The homes have a minimum 400 square foot private yard or patio in the rear, with a rear yard setback of 0 feet.

The subdivision has a sewage pump station at the rear of the property.

The residential portion of Grove Park has an allocation of 9,360 gallons per day of sewage capacity, and the commercial component has another 10,600 gallons per day. Treatment was assigned to the Calls Creek sewage treatment plant outside Watkinsville.

These amounts are small compared with the 168,688 gallons per day allocated to the nearby and inactive Parkside.

The county has oversold its sewage capacity and is struggling at present to meet the need as these dormant subdivisions come to life.


Grove Park, as is the case with many of he MPDs around the county, has had a variety of owners over the years.

In 2004 it was owned by RJC Land Development Inc., according to county tax records.

Next it went to Oconee Coldwater Creek LLC.

From there it went to Security Bank of Gwinnett County in a foreclosure.

From there it went to the State Bank and Trust Co.

The next owners were Grove Park Development Partners LLC.

The present owner is Athens Construction Group LLC.

Abe Abouhamdan, the chair of the county’s Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee, is the authorized agent for the development, according to the 2013 revised preliminary plat filed in the county’s Planning Department.


rightway1974 said...

Abe Abouhamdan should be required to resign. There is a clear conflict of interest and it happens frequently. I for one will be contacting the BOC to voice my concerns. Im sure they will fall on deaf ears.

Anonymous said...

The way I see it is the company that purchased sewer capacity went out of business. That should mean that the current owner should have to purchase the capacity again.

Anonymous said...

"Abe Abouhamdan, the chair of the county’s Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee, is the authorized agent for the development, according to the 2013 revised preliminary plat filed in the county’s Planning Department."

Abe, for gosh darn sakes, have some honor and ethics, and step down for the Land Use & Trans. Planning Comm.

You have such an obvious conflict of interest, if it's not technically illegal, it's definitely unethical. Do the right thing. Step down.

I realize in the Melvin Davis era, conflicts of interest (Rick Waller, Jamie Bowsell, Bubber's rezone, etc.) were allowed and enabled. But Melvin is out the door...voters want and expect transparency and integrity. The good ole boy, behind closed doors dealings are no longer acceptable.

C'mon Abe, as Spike Lee said: "Do the right thing".

Xardox said...

Mr. Abouhamdan again. How about that?

Anonymous said...

As long as it benefits him personally to be chairman of the Land Use committee, does anyone honestly believe he will resign? There have been other instances where I thought there was definitely a conflict of interest. He must be a FOM (Friend of Melvin).

Anonymous said...

Judging from the tiny lot size and the estimated construction costs of $125,000, someone is expecting to make a pot of money on each one, according to some prices I have seen. Wow!

Anonymous said...

Could be used for section 5 housing when they don't sell.

Zippity said...

And these small homes won't generate enough property tax to pay for the services the people in them require (schools, parks, roads, etc) so our property taxes will continue to go up in the future. Thanks a lot commissioners!

Anonymous said...

Lee, since this is an MPD what is the commercial component, how large is it,and what type? Are there any setbacks and or buffer zones from it and the "neighbors"? Were there any rules about when the commercial component is to be built compared to residential. Is the 5000 odd sq. ft of park the only green space in the development?
Most of the MPD's had a buffer area of undisturbed green space between it and surrounding neighbors, is there any between it and the houses in Northwest woods or the 2 acre house lot located within the development?
How many extra kids will this add to our school system and other services?
We have the best Fire Dept. around but I hate to think of the nightmare if one of the houses has a fire, the whole thing will go up in flames.
In my opinion the MPD's were a bad idea for Oconee Co. and I hope the others that are sitting idle will be slow to develop.

Lee Becker said...

The commercial component consists of five buildings for a total of 86,000 square feet of floor space. The only prohibition on type is no restaurants with drive through operations and no convenience stores with gas pumps. The condition on rezone is that the infrastructure for the commercial and residential have to be in place at the same time, and that has been done.

There is a retention pond with green space around it. And the whole development has a 50-foot green space buffer around it. In addition, the lot in the middle that is not part of the development has a 50-foot green space buffer around it. There is no internal buffer between the commercial and residential development or between the larger and smaller lots.

The plans are for 45 dwelling units.


Anonymous said...

Typical nothing to see here OC politics. I'm surprised the Enterprise hasn't addressed the ABE conflict of interest.

Oconee doesn't need anymore house pastures.

rightway1974 said...

The Enterprise will not publish anything they see as negative about the BOC or the County. They should be publishing Lee's findings as should the ABH.