Land Planner Ken Beall, appearing before the Oconee County Planning Commission on Monday evening, told that group something that those who drive along the Oconee Connector as it crosses SR Loop 10 toward Epps Bridge Centre know quite well.
Beall said that his clients' 22.7 acre property east of the Connector between Virgil Langford Road and the Loop had been clearcut and is sitting undeveloped. The wood piles and open space are hard to miss.
Beall told the Commission that the reason he was back before it after a rezone of the property in 2019 was to modify the plans presented with that 2019 rezone.
The new plans eliminate a connection from the project to the Oconee Connector–which Beall said was too expensive to build–and incorporate additional acreage acquired from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
The plans in 2019 were and again in 2023 are to build Research Quarter, an extension of the large medical complex along Virgil Langford Road north of SR 316.
Tim Burgess of Monroe and Gavin Griffeth of Colbert are the owners of the property and have developed much of the land that makes up the fast growing medical complex.
Research Quarter is proposed to consist of 13 lots that will be available for purchase or for construction.
The Planning Commission unanimously recommended that the Board of Commissioners approve the request by Burgess and Griffeth as well as a separate request by the owners of 9.2 acres adjacent to Mallard Lake Subdivision for division of that property into three lots.
Change In Plans
Beall, representing Burgess and Griffeth in 2019, presented plans for what then was 19.3 acres to be divided into 13 lots.
|View Of Timbered Lot For Research Quarter|
The lots were along three roadways, two of them existing but to be reconfigured.
Entrances and exists were on Virgil Langford Road and at the traffic light where the southwestern exit ramp from SR 316 meets the Connector.
“After the DOT got through with all of their requirements, that was going to increase the costs by about $1 million,” Beall told the Commissioners on Monday night.
Additionally, there was to be a $400,000 charge for crossing “the imaginary no access strip.”
“That was more than the project could handle,” Beall said, “so our client asked us to redesign the project.”
In addition, Beall said, Burgess and Griffeth were able to purchase 3 plus acres from GDOT, allowing for a reconfiguration of the 13 lots in the commercial subdivision.
What Is Planned
Under the new configuration, a new roadway called Research Parkway will be constructed running from Virgil Langford Road to a roundabout at the end of the existing Jennings Mill Extension.
|Concept Plan For Research Quarter|
Click To Enlarge
Jennings Mill Extension will connect to the existing Old Jennings Mill Road and then Virgil Langford Road.
Both the Jennings Mill Extension and the Old Jennings Mill Road are stubs of roadway from before the SR 316, SR Loop 10, and the Oconee Connector were built.
Average building size for the Research Quarter will be 7,704 square feet, according to the narrative submitted with the rezone request, for a total building square footage in the development of 174,500.
Construction will take place over five years, according to the narrative, with an estimated value at build-out of $43.6 million.
Representative architecture presented with the rezone request include multiple pictures from the Piedmont Oconee Health Campus, which Burgess and Griffeth helped develop, and other nearby health facilities.
The narrative states, as Beall did before the Planning Commission, that “The site has recently been timbered in accordance with approved timber harvesting and soil erosion, sediment, and pollution prevention plans.”
Charles Weirauch and James Kilpatrick own 9.2 acres at 1031 Mallard Lake Drive that originally was to be used for a future development phase of of the adjacent Mallard Lake subdivision.
Since the original rezone for Mallard Lake did not show a division of the property into lots, Weirauch and Kilpatrick needed to come back to the county with plans for the property.
What they are proposing is a three-lot subdivision.
Access to the three lots will be via a shared private driveway connecting to Rocky Branch Road.
The video below of the March 20, 2023, meeting is on the Oconee County YouTube Channel.
Discussion of the Research Quarter rezone begins at 10:36 in the video
Discussion of the Mallard Lake rezone begins at 18:52 in the video.
Both of the rezone requests will be before the Board of Commissioners at its April 4 meeting.