Sunday, July 14, 2019

Oconee County Planning Commission Has Full Agenda, Including For Commercial Development And Event Venue Along U.S. 78

***Also Being Asked To Allow New Subdivision***

The Oconee County Planning Commission has a full agenda Monday night, including a request for commercial development along U.S. 78 near the Walton County line and for a new subdivision in the far south of the county at the Greene County line.

In both cases, the request is to convert land designated for agricultural use to development.

The developer of the of the 101 acres on U.S. 78 is proposing a restaurant and shops as well as a small hotel and conversion of and expansion of an existing home into an events venue as a way to preserve a historic homestead.

The developer of the 64 acres on Colham Ferry Road on the Green County line is proposing to convert forested land into a five-lot subdivision.

The Planning Commission also will consider requests to convert just under three acres on Mars Hill Road from agricultural use to commercial use, to expand a mini storage facility on commercial land in Bogart, and to convert a commercial lot adjoining the Belfair subdivision into a residential lot.

The county Planning and Code Enforcement staff also will present the Commission with recommended changes in three articles in the county’s Unified Development Code.

Two Related Requests

The proposal for the commercial development and event venue on the northwest side of U.S. 78 involves two separate requests, one for the 28-acre commercial component and the other for nearly 73 acres that would include the event venue.

Gasaway Home On U.S. 78

Barbara Gasaway, 4800 Monroe Highway (U.S. 78), who is petitioning the county for the zoning changes, owns 188.36 acres, divided into two parcels.

The smaller parcel, 6.92 acres, includes the driveway and the land around her anti-bellum style house. The second parcel of 181.44 acres surrounds the house and driveway and includes a series of six ponds.

The Antebellum style house, the driveway and ponds are clearly visible from U.S. 78. In the past, the property was the site of a fishing camp.

Gasaway is proposing to carve out 28.34 acres of frontage, including parts of the driveway and some of the ponds, to be rezoned from its present agricultural classification to general business and highway business.

She also wants to create a second parcel of 72.81 acres, including the house, that would be granted a special use for event venues.

The remaining 87.21 acres, which would have some frontage on U.S. 78, is not part of the rezone request and would be divided off from the other acreage.

Planned Development

The property is no longer being used for agricultural activities, and the buildings are falling into disrepair, according to the narrative submitted with the rezone. The house is currently occupied and used as a single-family residence.

In an effort to preserve the Antebellum style house and character of the land, JDG Investment LLC proposes “an adaptive re-use of the house and structures” for an event venue and supportive small-scale commercial uses, according to the narrative.

The application lists JDG Investment LLC as representing James D. Garner, with the address of 7 South Main Street in Watkinsville.

Included in the commercial sector, according to the submitted plans, are specialty shops, a “farm-to-table style restaurant,” and a two-story “boutique” hotel with 30 guest rooms.

The speciality shops, located north of the driveway, would be 8,000 square feet in size. The restaurant would be 3,000 square feet in size. The hotel, designed to complement the event venue and located south of the driveway, would be 18,000 square feet.

Planned Timetable

The existing house, built in 1890, according to the county’s tax records, would get a 2,000 square foot expansion at the rear for assembly space.

The 1,500 square footage on the ground floor of the existing building would be used for events and administrative functions.

The plan is to accommodate weddings, corporate events, and special events, according to the narrative.

The project would be completed in three phases, according to the narrative.

Improvement and expansion of the existing home to serve as an event venue would be completed by the end of 2020.

Construction of the specialty shops and restaurants would be completed by the end of 2025.

Construction of the boutique hotel is to be completed by the end of 2027.

Completion of the second and third phase would require the extension of water and sanitary sewer to the site, according to the county planning and code enforcement staff review.

Allison Creek Plantation

Elder Farm LP of Gainesville is asking the county to rezone 64.31 acres at 6191 Colham Ferry Road from its current agricultural classification to agricultural and residential use to allow for subdivision of the property into five single-family residential lots.

The subdivision will be the third phase of Allison Creek Plantation. According to the application narrative, the earlier phases have been sold out.

According to the county Planning and Code Enforcement Department staff report, the 64.31-acre parcel was created in 2013 as a result of the subdivision of the parcel from a larger tract.

The site is heavily wooded and undeveloped, according to the staff report. The narrative says its current use is as a tree farm, and the last thinning was in 2003

The narrative says the property was acquired by Dr. J.T. Elder in 1890.

Minimum lot size will be 11 acres, and the minimum house size proposed for the lots is 1,850 square feet.

Other Rezone Requests

Terrick Holdins LLC of Athens is asking the county to rezone 1.52 acres at 1040 Talus Street near Belfair subdivision northwest of U.S. 78 from OIP (Office Institutional Professional) to R-1 (Single Family Residential).

The property was part of rezone in 2002 to allow for the development of Dickens Corner, a commercial seven-lot subdivision intended for professional office use.

The plan is to use the lot for construction of a residence.

D.T. Sanders of Athens is seeking to rezone 2.74 acres at 1021 Barber Creek Drive off Mars Hill Road from AR (Agricultural Residential) to B-1 (General Business) to construct two medical/professional office buildings.

The site contains a vacant single family residence that is in disrepair, and the remainder of the site is wooded, according to the staff report.

Rhino Mini Storage LLC, 1741 Atlanta Highway in Bogart, is asking the city to modify an earlier rezone for the property to allow for an increase in the total building floor area for the development.

All of the rezone requests go to the Board of Commissioners for final action except for the Rhino Storage request, which goes from the Planning Commission to the Bogart City Council.

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