Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Oconee Commission Postpones Action On Rezone For Commercial Development At Mars Hill Road and U.S. 78

***Delay Until May 7***

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night granted the request of Butts County developer Bill Jones for a postponement of consideration of a rezone of 32 acres for a commercial development at Mars Hill Road and U.S. 78.

Jones had told the county that he plans to build a JP convenience store and gas station with 20 fueling positions and a Burger King at the intersection where a BP station now stands.

He also submitted concept plans for a hotel and big box store–possibly a Publix grocery story–for the site.

But he has said he wants to be able to put a car dealership, car wash and car lube store on the site as alternatives.

Jones currently owns Countryside Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Jackson and operates and leases convenience stores, fast food restaurants, supermarkets and retail space in Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas.

Oconee County Planning and Code Enforcement Assistant Director Gabriel Quintas relayed Jones’ request for postponement until May 7 to the Board and, as is normal, did not provide a reason for the request.

The Planning Commission voted 7 to 3 last month against the proposal.

In other action on Tuesday, the Board approved a rezone and variance request for a small business office park on Mars Hill Road north of Butler’s Crossing.

32-Acre Site

Jones, who owns Jones Petroleum Inc., based in Jackson in Butts County between Atlanta and Macon, is asking the Board of Commissioners to rezone parts of the 32-acre site from A-1 (Agricultural District) to B-2 (Highway Business District).

Quintas, 4/2/2019

The 32 acres consists of five different parcels, and one of those, which now houses Aj’s convenience store and gas station, already is zoned B-2.

According to county tax records, Jones purchased the five parcels from the Crowe family estate on Jan. 10 of this year for $3.25 million.

Jones is proposing a two-phase development, with the first phase being demolition of the existing retail building and gas station and construction of a 7,200 square foot convenience store and gas station with 20 fueling positions and a 2,800 square foot Burger King with a drive through lane.

The concept plan shows a second phase that includes two 12,000 square foot retail stores, one 5,000 square foot commercial office and institutional building, one 50,400 square foot hotel with 200 rooms, five retail/commercial fast food restaurants, each of 3,000 to 3,500 square feet, and one 68,000 square foot big box anchor store

Jones told the Planning Commission that no tenant has been identified firmly for the anchor store but that people representing Publix have inquired about the location.

Planning Commission Concerns

Two issues were raised by Planning Commission members during that body’s deliberations.

Planning Commission member Karen Hilyard said the proposed development is not in keeping with the Technology Gateway classification in the county’s land use map.

Maria Caudill, another Commission member, said she was concerned that Jones objected to the 11 conditions proposed by the planning staff.

Steven Rowland with Rowland Engineering of Macon, representing Jones, said initially that he wanted all of the 11 conditions recommended by the planning staff to be dropped, and Jones repeated that request.

Subsequently, Rowland said he could accept some of the conditions, but not the restriction on signage, a prohibition of an entrance off Mars Hill Road at U.S. 78, and prohibition of some of the uses listed by the staff.

Rowland said specifically that he wanted to be able to include a tire and lube store, a new car dealership and a car wash in allowed uses.

Carpet Store

The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved unanimously a request by Stan and Regina Chasteen, owners of Carpets Unlimited, to modify two rezones from back in 2000 of five acres they own on Mars Hill Road between Woodlands Road and Rankin Road.

The couple wants to build an office condominium complex at the rear of the property and construct a commercial building at the front.

Part of that commercial building would be used for a carpet store.

The rear of the property already is zoned for the condominium complex, but the new plans would reduce the number of buildings from seven to five.

The front of the property already is zoned for commercial use, but the new proposal is to increase the square footage of that building from 5,500 square feet to 11,000 square feet.

The Board also approved a request by the Chasteens for a reduction in required incompatible-use buffers from 50 feet to 10 feet along the southeastern property line adjoining a single-family residential use and from 25 feet to 10 feet along the northwestern property line adjoining multi-family residential zoning.

Appointments Animal Control, Family Services

The Board appointed three persons to the Animal Control Board for two-year terms, beginning July 1 of this year.

The three were Audrey Haynes, 1221 Saint Andrews Court at Jennings Mill, Marsha Mitchell, 1320 Skipstone Drive, off Barnett Shoals Road outside Watkinsville, and Maria Williams, 1111 McNutt Crossing, also at Jennings Mill.

Haynes and Williams currently serve on the five-person Animal Control Board.

Mitchell is a volunteer at the Shelter and a veterinary assistant.

The Board appointed Bethany Lambert, 1160 Arizona Bend, off Jimmy Daniell Road, to a five-year term on the Department of Family and Children Services Board. She is a contract negotiator.

Appointments Keep Oconee Beautiful Commission

The Board appointed four to the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission.

They are Ivette Bledsoe, 1341 Arizona Bend, off Jimmy Daniell Road, Angela Dalton, 1090 Briarwood Trail, near Butler’s Crossing, Bethany Hamilton-Jones, 1221 Taylors Drive, off Simonton Bridge Road, and Darius Johnson, 105 Cedar Drive, Watkinsville.

Bledsoe and Hamilton-Jones are currently on the Commission.

Dalton is an administrator in Athen-Clarke County government, and Johnson is an educator.


The video below is of the meeting of the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

Discussion of the Chasteen rezone request is at 5:22 in the video.


Anonymous said...

Here we go again. Developers ready to ask for changes that will not benefit the county.
Jones request for Mars Hill/US78 is unnecessary. The bottom line is that he wants to build a truck stop with a tire & lube store. So much for the “Smart Growth” John Daniell is trying to sell us. Is the BOC concerned about the “Smart Infrastructure” and “Quality of Life” they tout. So that’s what “Smart Government “ means to them.

Jones, a former politician, should sell his snake oil salesman deal in Jackson County. Makes you wonder why.. Yes, it will go from tired to trashy. Say goodbye to a technology area.

Carpet Store & Office Condo Complex- Why did the Commissioners allow 10 foot buffers to the adjoining single family residence and the multi-family residences? Do homes and families not matter? They cut back on the number of buildings so why the need to build right up on other folks? Oh, right - Smart Growth.

So much for the Comp Plan and Sound Planning.

Anonymous said...

I had thought the 78/Mars Hill project had been voted down, but I guess I was wrong. Just what we need at that crossing, more shit. Traffic will be a freaking nightmare there if this goes through.

Anonymous said...

At least Daniell is making developers following conditions placed during rezone. Davis administration just let developers do what ever they wanted with no oversight. And the carpet store property was rezoned with 10 foot buffers under Davis. The home you mentioned is on B1 zoned property and the multi-family is a vacant well lot that will never be multi-family thanks to current BOC.

You might take a minute to read the comp plan and character area designation before making comments that the plan does not match the comp plan. If you just don't like the development fine, but be educated before commenting on comp plan.

What Jackson County deal are you referring to?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to disagree Anonymous 11:24
Redone Mars Hill/78 -The area is for technology where the truck stop wants to go. That is in the Comp Plan on the county website.

Carpet Store- The buffers were requested as a variance-only the present commissioners can make that change. Folks that want to build should make the proposed design fit even if they have to cut back on the number of buildings or building size, etc. Look for commercial property that will fit the needs of your proposed business. A road design, wetlands, along with UDC, GDOT both with guidelines/laws in place may not make it possible to build on property A. However, property B is out there and it will work on that piece of real estate.

The Politicians of the Past-Each set of politicians has done their best to sell off this county. The current BOC fails on many votes to define how our county can be developed or not developed when it is necessary. A large portion of the BOC has been around a long time which includes Daniells. It is a revolving door of who serves on the BOC. They have had an opportunity in the past and the present to make a positive impact. They lack the political backbone when it comes to positive long term development for a better Oconee. The Comp Plan is a proposed way we would like the county to grow. The votes by the BOC is what we have to live with.

The Guy From Jackson-Go follow the dots or the money with any and all of these people that come here to build and go bye-by. The internet is an interesting invention.

I apologize and irespect your right to disagree. I simply have a differing opinion based on the planning rules we have in place and how our elected officials are selling off the county one vote at a time. We agree to disagree.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:24 am: Sign your name. Again, sign your name. I guarantee you're an elected official, county employee or insider such as Ken Beall, Rick Waller, etc. "character area designation"? Words only written by a true insider.

9:29 PM is correct: The Carpet Store rezone is an absolute disgrace. It's on a busy road between residential, with the driveway below the crest of a hill, accidents guaranteed.

10 ft setbacks?? Are you kidding? I expect nonsense from out to lunch Bubber Wilkes but shame on Daniell, Horton, Saxon and Thomas. Squeezing in with 10 ft setbacks? Embarrassing and ridiculous.

Just like Anon 11:24 am. Sign your name. My name is Dan Magee.