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.
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.
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).
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.
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.