Saturday, February 01, 2020

Oconee County Committee Reviewing Plans For Burger King And Convenience Store At U.S. 78 And Mars Hill Road

***Latest Documents Stamped Jan. 7***

The Oconee County Development Review Committee is in the process of evaluating plans submitted by Jones Petroleum of Jackson for a combination Burger King and a convenience store with 10 fuel dispensers at the northwest corner of Mars Hill Road and U.S. 78.

William B. Jones submitted to the county a preliminary plat and preliminary site plan on Jan. 7 for what is described as Phase 1 of the project, which ultimately could involve 32 acres owned by Jones and rezoned for commercial development by the Board of Commissioners in May of last year.

The Development Review Committee is continuing its review of the submitted materials before signing off on the preliminary plat and preliminary site plan.

An earlier draft of the preliminary site plan received by the county on Oct. 28 of last year listed completion of construction in 2020. That Oct. 28 site plan listed construction of Phase 2 of the project from 2020 through 2023.

Phase 2, according to zoning documents, includes a big box anchor store, two retail stores, a commercial office and institutional building, a 200-room hotel, and five buildings for retail or fast food restaurants.

Jones has not submitted plans for Phase 2 of the project.

In August of last year the Board of Commissioners also approved a special use request by property owned by Barbara Gasaway further west on U.S. 78. That request included a proposal for a boutique hotel and conversion of the existing columned-home for an event venue.

No documents for that project have been submitted to the Development Review Committee.

DRC Review

The Development Review Committee consists of representative of the county Fire Department, Water Resources Department, Environmental Health Department, and the Public Works Department.

"Representative Photo" Submitted With Rezone Request

It also includes a representative of the code enforcement unit and the planning unit of the Department of Planning and Code Enforcement and of the county Fire Marshal.

In the past, this body has met to approve preliminary plats and discuss preliminary site plans, but those reviews now are completed without a meeting of the DRC members.

As of Monday of last week, only Public Works has signed off on the review of the materials submitted by Jones Petroleum for the convenience store and Burger King.

Public Works said there were no comments on the plans that needed to be addressed.

Jones Petroleum Plans

The documents submitted by Jones Petroleum show an 11,200-square-foot, single-story building facing U.S. 78 at the Mars Hill Road intersection.

In front of the building are the 10 fuel pumps, each accessible from two sides, for a total of 20 fueling positions.

The plans show a drive through at the rear of the building and 100 parking spaces on the western side of the building.

Entrance to the property will be off U.S. 78 and off Mars Hill Road.

The plans also show interior driveways, including a second entrance off U.S. 78, that will be constructed during Phase 1 of the project but will provide access to six additional lots in Phase 2, five of which front on U.S. 78.

Property Purchase

William B. Jones purchased the five parcels that make up the 32-acre site for $2.5 million on Jan. 10 of last year, according to county tax records.

October Plans For Burger King/Convenience Store

The Burger King and convenience store will be on only 2.58 of those acres.

The plans call for demolition of the existing building housing the AJ’s convenience store and other retail outlets.

Burt Jones, one of the principals of Jones Petroleum and a state Senator from Jackson in Butts County, told the Board of Commissioners that he had no firm tenants for the big box shown on the plans with the rezone request and that the other planned uses of the property were tentative.

The Commissioners placed restrictions on use of the property, turning down Jones’ request to be allowed to put a car dealership on the property as an alternative to the submitted plans.

Gasaway Permit

At its Aug. 6 meeting last year, the Board of Commissioners approved the request by JDG Investments LLC, representing James D. Garner, 7 South Main Street in Watkinsville, for a special use for 72.81 acres zoned agricultural at 4800 Monroe Highway (U.S. 78) near the Walton County line for an event venue.

The Board also approved the request by JDG Investments to rezone 28.34 acres of highway frontage from its present agricultural classification to general business and highway business.

The property was owned by Barbara Gasaway at that time. JDG Investment purchased the acreage from Gasaway on Aug. 29 for $1.7 million, according to county tax records.

Included in the planned 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.

Deanna Ruark, DRC coordinator, told me when I visited the Planning and Code Enforcement Department on Monday that documents for the DRC review and approval of the preliminary plat and review of the Preliminary Site Plan have not been submitted.


WSM MD said...

That sure is quite some development project.
There also was quite some local resistance to the rezone,
which is very difficult to criticize.
However, the corridor within a mile or two of GA 316 is destined for building.
Deer and cows will no longer welcome there very soon.
Makes a whole lot more sense than that Burger King
across from the school near Autozone.

Anonymous said...

It is very disappointing to watch how Oconee County is developing. Perhaps if the developer were from the area, he would understand how much traffic there is at 78/Mars Hill Rd. Having a gas station and a Burger King (across from another gas station) won't help the problem. A hotel and a grocery store will only add to the problem. To be honest, Clarke County has more personality than Oconee County has, as Oconee County's development consists mainly of retirement communities, fast food restaurants, gas stations, and hotels.