Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Proposal For Large Shopping Center At Mars Hill Road And Oconee Connector On Planning Commission Agenda

***Developer Granted Corps Of Engineers Permit To Fill Wetlands***

Developers are moving forward with a planned $50 million commercial development at the intersection of the Oconee Connector and Mars Hill Road that would include a Publix, a gas station with convenience store, and a bank in its initial phase.

In a second phase, the project concept plan shows restaurants, hotels, retail outlets, and an auto dealership.

The primary access to the property will be off the Oconee Connector, but the concept plan also shows five entrances off Mars Hill Road, including a major one opposite the current DaAndra Drive intersection with Mars Hill Road.

The developer is proposing dedicated turn lanes and a signal at the primary entrance, which is to be at the existing median break opposite the reconfigured entrance to the old fire station on the Connector and just north of the existing QuikTrip.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted a provisional permit on July 31 to Publix Supermarkets Inc. and the Sembler Corporation, a shopping center developer out of St. Petersburg, Fla., to dredge and fill a tributary of Barber Creek that flows through the property.

Property owner Deferred Tax LLC, with Maxie Price of Lawrenceville as the contact, is asking for the needed rezones for the three parcels that make up the just less than 47-acres to be used for the project.

The request is scheduled to be reviewed by the Oconee County Planning Commission at its Dec. 14 meeting and to go before the Board of Commissioners for the needed rezones on Jan. 5.

Concept Plan

The concept plan submitted by Deferred Tax bears the logo of Sembler and states that the Florida firm will be the developer of the project.

Sign On Property

Publix is not mentioned in the rezone application, though it was a co-applicant of the Corps of Engineers permit, and Sembler often uses Publix as an anchor in its projects, according to its web site.

The concept plan shows a 48,387 square foot grocery with an attached 8,400 square foot retail strip of suites and a separate 3,600 square foot retail building.

These components, plus the bank and convenience store and gas station, make up Phase I of the project and are concentrated in the corner of Mars Hill Road and the Oconee Connector.

The Bank and gas station and convenience store are labeled as outparcels to the shopping center, which includes the grocery.

At the very corner, 2.6 acres are set aside for stormwater management.

The concept plan uses the name Oconee Connector Shopping Center.

Phase II

The three parcels owned by Deferred Tax stretch from the intersection of Mars Hill Road with the Connector to Virgil Langford Road. SR 316 is the northern boundary.

Phase 2 includes two hotels, four restaurants, three retail buildings, and a vehicle sales cluster of buildings.

The vehicle sales buildings are located on the part of the property touching Virgil Langford Road, but no access to Virgil Langford is shown on the concept plan.

The Corps of Engineer application sought permission to dredge and fill 2,425 linear feet of intermittent channel, 235 linear feet of ephemeral channels, 0.5 acres of wetlands, and 0.42 acre of open water.

The concept plan shows that most of that area of the stream, wetlands and open water would be paved over in the first and second phase of the project.

Engineering work is underway for a flyover at the intersection of the Oconee Connector and SR 316, and it is unclear from the narrative how those plans might affect the proposal for the shopping center.


MrsHunter said...

I really hope we can vote on this cause many in the county do NOT want this!

Linda said...

I live less than a mile from this catastrophe and am totally opposed to it. Can Oconee citizens zoom into the Oconee County Planning Commission on Dec. 14? Also, can we zoom into the Jan 5 meeting? Is it too late to really do any good to stop this? I don't have any power in this county, but I know this is not good for a healthy county and its people. There is already cleared land -- LOTS of it -- just another mile or so by Epps Bridge Centre. And plenty of traffic lights already there for smooth traffic. This new shopping here at Mars Hill Road is going to totally clog the area with even more traffic, cause congestion I predict will obstruct 316 on occasion, and tear down a nice little forest area we all enjoy seeing. Many others in my subdivision are opposed, too.
Linda Exum
Watkinsville, Georgia