The Oconee County Planning Commission on Monday will hear three rezone requests for property in the northeast of the county where the owner is seeking to convert parcels currently zoned for residential use to office and business uses.
Dr. Brent and Mary Lynn Nail are seeking to rezone a 3.1 acre single family residential lot on Mars Hill Road near its intersection with the Oconee Connector so they can remove the existing residence and build a new dental office.
The Milner Group of Lawrenceville is asking to rezone 6.0 vacant acres at the corner of Mars Hill Road and Julian Drive from its current single family residential designation so it can build a business park with a 30,000 square foot warehouse and two 11,000 square foot office buildings.
The Chambers Family Partnership of Athens is requesting the rezone of 8.7 acres on Jennings Mill Road from its current agricultural and two-family residential classification so it can construct an office complex consisting of six buildings of various sizes. A single-family home currently is on the property.
In each case, the Oconee County planning staff has recommended approval of the request.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold individual hearings on the requests beginning at 7 p.m. on May 15 at the Courthouses in Watkinsville.
The Oconee County Board of Commissioners, after receiving the recommendations of the Planning Commission, is scheduled to hold its own hearings beginning at 6 p.m. on June 6, also at the Courthouse in Watkinsville.
Nail Rezone Request
Dakota Carruthers, Entitlements Manager with Parker Poe law firm in Atlanta, filed the narrative for the rezone request by the Nails, who are seeking to replace their existing Athens Oconee Dentistry, now located at 1285 Virgil Langford Road.
|Sign For Nail Rezone|
The Georgia Department of Transportation has identified the Nail property as is in the path of the planned new westbound on-ramp to SR 316 from the Oconee Connector when the multi-grade intersection of the Connector and SR 316 is built. Construction is scheduled for 2024.
The proposal is for a one-story building not to exceed 4,000 square feet of space. The site plan shows a building of 3,800 square feet in size.
The concept plan shows the building roughly in the middle of the 3.1 acre lot, with parking lots facing both Mars Hill Road and Hollow Creek Lane.
The property is listed at 2521 Mars Hill Road, but access at present and as shown on the concept plan is from Hollow Creek Lane, a residential street.
The property abuts three lots in the Oakridge subdivision on which houses sit and that also currently are zoned AR (Agricultural Residential), as is the lot currently owned by Steven and David Hale that the Nails wish to develop.
Across Hollow Creek Lane are two parcels totaling five acres owned by the Oldham family. A house sits on that property, which is zoned AG (Agricultural).
Across Mars Hill Road, however, is a parcel owned by Deferred Tax LLC that is zoned B-2 (Highway Business District), and that was part of a proposed redevelopment for a shopping center that was to include a Publix.
The Board of Commissioners denied the rezone request for that shopping center in February, but Deferred Tax has filed suit in Oconee Superior Court attempting to reverse that decision.
The Deferred Tax property plays a central role in the staff analysis of the Nail rezone request.
|Map For Nail Rezone|
Because the Nails are seeking to rezone the Hale property to OIP (Office Institutional Professional), it can serve as a buffer between the B-2 District and the AR District behind it.
The developments to the north and east “support the proposed OIP zoning as a transitional land use between the more intense zoning districts to the north and the less intense residential subdivision to the south,” according to the staff report. “Staff holds that these conditions give supporting grounds for approval of the zoning proposal.”
The proposed dental office development is allowed in OIP zoning, the staff report notes.
The development will add an estimated 137 average daily trips onto that residential roadway, and the Nails are seeking a special exception application to allow the single access point on the residential street because existing code requirements do not allow access to Mars Hill Lane at their property.
They also are asking for a special exception to allow for 29 parking spaces, rather than the 14 that would be allowed without the granting of the exception to current county zoning regulations.
The Nails are proposing to access county sewers, and that will require construction of a sewer line extension, since sewers are not available on the residential property. They will have to absorb the cost of that connection, the staff report notes.
The Nails also will be required to have a 25 foot buffer between their property and the adjoining residential properties.
Milner Group Rezone
Although the 6.0 acre parcel at the northeast corner of Julian Drive and Mars Hill Road is vacant, it is zoned R-1, for single family use.
|Map For Milner Rezone|
The Milner Group is seeking to change that zoning to OBP (Office Business Park) for construction of a three-building business park with access from Julian Drive.
The development will increase the Average Daily Traffic count by 657, according to the rezone analysis.
The 16.5 acres north of the proposed park is zoned OIP (Office Institutional Professional) and is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The parcel to the west, across Julian Drive, is split AG (Agricultural) and R-1 (Single Family Residential). The AG parcel is occupied by Athens Church of Christ.
The property on the south side, across Mars Hill Road, is residential, including condominiums.
The 30,000 square foot warehouse will be a single story building, while the two office buildings will each be 11,000 square foot in size. They will share a parking lot with the warehouse.
The planning staff report states that “Staff is of the opinion that the proposed development is suitable in view of the existing nearby development and zoning, with the large-scale warehouse portion being positioned along the northern property line adjacent to the existing OIP zoned property.”
Chambers Family Partnership
The zoning application narrative submitted for the Chambers Family Partnership by Carter Engineering is for 19.0 acres on Jennings Mill Road, with the request that the acreage be rezoned from R-2 (Two-Family Residential District) and R-3 (Multi-Family Residential District) to R-1 (Single Family Residential) for a residential subdivision called Hillpoint.
|Map For Chambers Family Rezone|
Tucked inside that proposal is a request that 8.7 acres, currently zoned AG (Agricultural) and R-2 (Two-Family Residential District) to be rezoned OIP (Office Institutional Professional).
The rezone request before the Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners deals only with the request for the 8.7-acre tract.
Zoning around the property is a hodgepodge, as it abuts the 19 acres currently zoned R-2 and R-3 that Carter Engineering said it wants to rezone to R-1 for a future single-family subdivision. (The map submitted by Carter Engineering does not correspond with the property as shown on the county qpublic property site.)
What the concept plan shows for the 8.7 acres are six two-story buildings, with two of them broken into separate units, for a total of 12 units.
The two buildings that are divided into four units are 20,000 square feet in size, while the other four buildings are 12,500 square feet in size.
Access will be to Jennings Mill Road, with an estimated increase in Average Daily Traffic count of 996.
“Staff is of the opinion that the proposed development is potentially suitable in view of the existing nearby development and zoning,” according to the staff report.
Note: After this post was published, the county updated the Chambers narrative documents to make them align with the request. I had contacted the planning staff and informed it of the discrepancy before I posted the story.