Sunday, June 16, 2019

Oconee County Commission Moves Forward With Construction Plans For Malcom Bridge Road Roundabouts

***Contract Awarded For First Of Three Roundabouts***

Oconee County commissioners are going forward with plans for construction of three roundabouts on Macolm Bridge Road, with construction on the first–at Mars Hill Road–to begin this summer.

Construction of roundabouts at the bus entrance and the parent entrance to Malcom Bridge Middle School will take place at a later date, after the county gets new bids for the former and finalizes plans with a developer for the latter.

The county at that point will ask the Oconee County School system to review those plans and indicate how it wants to connect to the roundabouts at the school entrances.

The Board approved a $1.3 million contract with ER Snell Contractor Inc. of Snellville for the Mars Hill Road and Malcom Bridge Road roundabout at its meeting earlier this month.

At that same meeting, Board approved a rezone for a major expansion of the Oconee Health Campus of Piedmont Athens Regional at Virgil Langford Road and Jennings Mill Road.

Development in that area is moving at a fast pace, and the Oconee County Planning Commission will take up a major rezone at its meeting tomorrow night for additional medical and commercial development in that area.

The Commissioners turned down–without any discussion–a request for a variance to allow for an auto impounding lot in Farmington.


Commission Chair John Daniell reminded the commissioners at the June 4 meeting that the county could not complete the roundabouts at the school entrances as originally planned because the Board of Education refused to grant the requested rights of way and easements.

County Clerk Kathy Hayes And Daniell, 6/4/2019

Daniell told the commissioners at the agenda-setting meeting in May that the county can build a roundabout at the bus entrance without using School Board property by shifting the roadway west onto land the county owns at that location.

Daniell also reported that the owners of a shopping center being developed opposite the parent entrance have agreed to shift the roadway and roundabout onto their property, making it possible to build that roundabout as well.

The roundabout at the intersection of Mars Hill Road and Malcom Bridge Road does not abut school system property.

ER Snell Bids

The county had requested bids for roundabouts on Malcom Bride Road at the bus entrance and at Mars Hill Road, with a submittal deadline of May 15. Construction completion date was set at Aug. 1 of 2019.

ER Snell was the sole bidder, with $1,071,926 the listed price for the bus entrance and $1,513,776 the listed price for the Malcom Bridge Road and Mars Hill Road roundabout.

Daniell recommended that the Board accept the bid, but at a price not to exceed $1.253 million, for the Malcom Bridge Road and Mars Hill Road construction and rebid the bus entrance roundabout with the new design.

The Board approved that action.

Daniell told the Board that once the engineering for the bus entrance is completed and the bid is awarded “we will forward these plans to the Board of Education for their review and so they can figure out how they’re going to attach to that roadway roundabout.”

Daniell said the shopping center developer, Lenru Development, is modifying its plans for the parent entrance roundabout given the Board of Education’s refusal to grant the right of way and easement for that roundabout.

Lenru Development is a partnership involving Rodney Jones, 1520 Crystal Hills Drive, and Philip Hammond, 1516 Bracken Court, off Fern Hill Road, near the proposed shopping center.

Oconee Health Campus

Oconee Medical Holdings LLC asked the Board to modify a 2013 rezone of 14.23 acres on the northwest corner of Jennings Mill Road and Virgil Langford Road to allow for an increase in total allowed building square footage from 140,000 square feet to 164,165 square feet.

Rather than three additional buildings depicted on the original concept plan approved in 2013, Oconee Medical Holdings is proposing to construct one three-story, 45,000-square foot building.

Two buildings already are on the site, and a third is under construction.

The two buildings are the main part of the existing Piedmont Oconee Health Campus, and the building under construction is to be the Piedmont Orthopedic Building.

The proposed new three-story building will complement the two main buildings, which are two-story in height. The Orthopedic Building will be a single story.

The new building will complete the build-out of the property, according to the rezone narrative.

The Commission approved the request unanimously.

Farmington Impound Lot

Mike Thornton, and Tommy Saxon, both using Athens addresses, asked the Board to grant a special use permit to allow Ben Hanley of Hull to operate a motor vehicle impoundment lot on 1.34 acres on U.S. 441 at the entrance to Farmington.

The county’s planning staff had recommended against the request, as had the county’s Planning Commission.

No one showed up to advocate for the request at the meeting on June 4, and four citizens spoke against it, including former Commissioner Margaret Hale, whose family operates an antiques business in the former train depot across the street from the proposed impound lot.

Hale said there is interest in repairing the track and running a passenger train on it, and the impound lot would be a incompatible with that and other activities in the area.

When the public comment ended, the Board immediately voted to deny the request.

Other Action

In other action, the Board also approved a rezone request by Nichols Land and Investment Company for a modification of a 2013 rezone in order to allow for additional lots in Resurgence Park on Virgil Langford Road east of the Oconee Connector.

The Board also approved a number of changes to the county’s Unified Development Code requested by the county planning staff.

The Planning Commission had reviewed these requests as well and suggested a number of modification, most of which the staff opposed. The Board accepted the planning staff requests.

The Board gave final approval to the $52.3 million Fiscal Year 2020 budget, which includes only slight increases in the water rates and no increase in the sewer rates.

At the beginning of the June 4 meeting, Georgia Association of Water Professionals presented the county’s Water Resource Department a Platinum Award for perfect regulatory compliance in for its water operation for 17 years in a row.


I was not able to attend the meeting of the Board of Commissioners on June 4, but Penny Mills did attend and recorded the video below.

Discussion of the rezone request in Farmington begins at 17:05 in the video.

Discussion of the rezone request for expansion of the Oconee Health Campus begins at 33:36.

Discussion of the roundabouts on Mars Hill Road begins at 46:45.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Only one bidder? Is this standard protocol for bidding out projects? Personally I always get 3 separate bids for my projects.