Sunday, December 02, 2018

Oconee Commissioners Approve Variance Requests for Eastville Car Museum

***No Sidewalks, Buffers Needed***

Tony Townley won’t have to meet county standards requiring a 15 foot setback in the front yard of his Eastville Car Museum.

He also won’t have to move four existing silos, a windmill, and a water tower from the front yard of his property at Snows Mill Road and Cole Spring Road, even though they violate the county’s Unified Development Code.

He doesn’t have to install sidewalks around the property, as required by the code, or buffer his office and museum complex from surrounding residential properties.

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners approved these requests by Townley Family Partnership LLLP on Tuesday night as a follow-up to action it had taken earlier in the month.

At that earlier meeting, the commissioners failed to clarify which of the conditions recommended by the county planning staff it approved.

The Commission also approved tentatively 41 alcohol applications for renewal for 2019, an increase of four from 2018.

The commissioners put the alcohol licenses on the consent agenda for final approval at their regular meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

Early voting for the runoff election on Tuesday ended on Friday, with 3,351 out of the county’s 27,538 active, registered voters casting a ballot, or 12.2 percent.

Eastville Care Museum

The Board of Commissioners had approved Townley’s request for a rezone of 11.1 acres at Snows Mill Road and Cole Spring Road for his car museum on Oct. 2, but it had not taken up four variance requests associated with the rezone until Nov. 6 because of a lag in the legal advertising for the request.

Townley Did Not Want Buffer Between House And Windmill

At that meeting on Nov. 6, the Commissioners approved all four variances at the same time, rather than individually, and did not clarify which of the conditions recommended by staff they accepted.

On Tuesday, they separated out the vote on each of the four variance requests and dealt individually with the conditions recommended by the staff.

Townley was asking for a series of exceptions to the county’s development standards resulting from the fact that many of the buildings were part of the University of Georgia Plant Sciences Farm when he acquired the property in 2014.

Townley added other structures and buildings after he purchased the property but before he came before the Commission for the rezone.

Variance Requests

Towney requested a reduction in the front-yard setback from 15 feet to 10 feet for a barn and his office building. Staff recommended that the setback be approved for those two buildings alone, and the Commission approved that variance request.

Townley requested permission for four existing silos, a windmill, and a water tower to remain in the front yard and a reduction of the accessory structure setback required for the silos from 10 feet to five feet.

The staff had recommended approval of the request on the condition that no other structures be allowed in the front yard. The Commission approved the request with the conditions recommended by the staff.

Townley requested a waiver of the requirement to install incompatible-use buffers along adjoining property lines.

Staff recommended installation of a buffer of 10 feet along all properties with a residential use and that no electronic sound amplification equipment shall be used on the subject property at any time.

The Commission rejected the buffer condition but approved the sound application prohibition.

Townley asked for a waiver of the requirement to install sidewalks along the right-of-way adjoining the outer perimeter of the 11.1 acres. Staff recommended approval of the request, and the Board of Commissioners granted the waiver.

Alcohol Licenses

The alcohol licenses given tentative approval by the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday include 19 licenses for Retail Sales By Package, up from 18 a year ago.

The new applicant is JP Bogart, 2430 Monroe Highway, a convenience store.

Twenty applications for Retail Sales By The Drink were given tentative approval, up from 17 a year ago

The three new applicants are Fox’s Pizza Den, 2971 Monroe Highway (U.S. 78), Sabor Latino, 2131 Hog Mountain Road in Butler’s Crossing, and Texas Roadhouse, 1021 Dowdy Road off Epps Bridge Parkway.

Fox’s Pizza’s license is for beer and wine, while Sabor Latino and Texas Roadhouse have applied for licenses for beer, wine and distilled spirits.

Two wholesale license are on the list, the same as a year ago.

In 2016, the county had 18 licenses for Retail Sales By Package and only eight licenses for Retail Sales By The Drink.

Early Voting

Across the 16 days of early voting leading up to the Nov. 6 election, 11,691 persons cast a ballot via what is termed Advanced In Person voting, that is, voting at the Board of Elections and Registration Office across from the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

Those participating in early voting made up 56.3 percent of the final total electorate.

If that same ratio is to hold for voting on Tuesday, it would mean that only about 5,950 voters would cast a ballot for the runoff between Secretary of State candidates John Barrow and Brad Raffensperger and Public Service Commission candidates Lindy Miller and Chuck Eaton.

Barrow and Miller are Democrats, and Raffensperger and Eaton are Republicans.

That vote turnout of 5,950 would be only about 22 percent of the county’s active, registered voters.


The video below is of the Nov. 27 meeting of the Board of Commissioners.

Discussion of the variance requests is at 2:08 in the video.

OCO: BOC 11 27 18 from Lee Becker on Vimeo.


Anonymous said...

More variances by the Board of Commissioners...Big surprise

Why even have a Unified Development Code when the commissioners consistently approve variances, often against the Planning Commission and Planning Dept. staff recommendations??

Seriously, how many of the five commissioners have actually read the entire Unified Development Code???

It's embarrassing and will not change until there's much needed new blood on the commission!

Anonymous said...

The reason there is a variance process is because the UDC isn't a perfect fit for every situation, especially when you're dealing with existing structures. It's working like it's supposed to.