Thursday, March 16, 2017

Plans for Presbyterian Village North Of Watkinsville On Agenda Of Oconee County Development Review Committee

Continuing Care Retirement Community

Nearly two years after getting zoning approval, Presbyterian Homes of Georgia has preliminary site plans for its continuing care retirement community at U.S. 441 and Hog Mountain Road before the county’s Development Review Committee.

The plans to be reviewed by the Committee at its 9 a.m. meeting tomorrow (Friday) include a Village Health Services Center, an independent living apartment building, 113 single-family cottages, and 13 two-family villas.

The gated entrance and exit on U.S. 441 is opposite Lavista Road and is shown on the plans as a left- and right-turn entrance but as a right-turn only exit.

The entrance and exit on Wellbrook Road also is gated and is shown on the preliminary site plan as both right- and left-turn in and out.

When the Oconee County Board of Commissioners approved the rezone request for what is being called Presbyterian Village on May 5 of 2015, the Board stipulated that traffic leaving the main entrance to the campus on U.S. 441 could only make right-hand turns.

It stipulated that traffic coming out of the secondary entrance and exit on Wellbrook Road could only turn left.

Rezone Decision

The Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 in 2015 to rezone 70 acres north of Watkinsville fronting on U.S. 441 and Hog Mountain Road despite opposition from residents of nearby subdivisions, particularly those living off Lake Wellbrook Road, who were concerned about traffic issues.

From Preliminary Site Plan (Click To Enlarge)

Confusion over what the county can do to restrict the flow of traffic on U.S. 441 and what it might do to restrict traffic movement on Hog Mountain Road was prominent at the meeting on May 5.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has jurisdiction over entrances and exists on the federal highway, Emil Beshara, Oconee County Public Works director, told the Commission, so any restrictions the Commission placed on that exit would be subject to state review.

Beshara also questioned how the county might restrict right-turns on Wellbrook Road.

Proponents of the Presbyterian Homes project argued the need for a continuing care retirement community in the county.

Lot Not Used

Presbyterian Homes purchased three parcels on U.S. 441 and Welbrook Road in January of 2016, but the preliminary site plans show it is using only two of those parcels.

Presbyterian Homes purchased a 4-acre parcel containing four houses at the intersection of Welbrook Road and Hog Mountain Road.

That parcel could give Presbyterian Homes an exit from its facility directly onto Hog Mountain Road, rather than onto Welbrook Road, but the preliminary site plans do not incorporate that property.

Presbyterian Homes also purchased 49.5 acres with frontage on U.S. 441 and Hog Mountain Road and 23.9 acres that only has frontage on U.S. 441.

DRC Scrutiny

The county’s Development Review Committee consists of representatives of the Planning Department, the Public Works Department, the Environmental Health Department, the Utility Department, and the Emergency Management and Fire Department.

Adam Layfield usually represents Public Works at the meeting.

Williams and Associates, 2470 Daniells Bridge Road, is representing Presbyterian Homes before the DRC.

Representatives of the five departments review the plans in advance of the meeting and give the project representatives a chance to respond to questions.

The meeting is to be held in the Government Annex on SR 15 south of Watkinsville and is open to the public, though citizens usually are not offered a chance to speak.

The agenda tomorrow also includes a modification of plans for Epps Bridge Centre Phases II and III as well as other items.

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