Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Commercial Development Proposed At Planned New Entrance To Oconee County's Veterans Park

***Includes Large Self-Storage Facility***

The owner of the property on Hog Mountain Road that will surround the planned new entrance to Oconee Veterans Park is asking the county to allow for a multi-use commercial development of the 25-acre site.

Proposed are small-scale business and commercial buildings to accommodate small shops, cafes, and services that will be accessible to users of Oconee Veterans Park as well as to the residents of the future Parkside residential development.

The initial phase is to consist of only four lots totaling 8.7 acres, with one of those lots, 5.8 acres in size, to be used for a self-storage facility consisting of 12 one- and two-story buildings.

Owner Mark Jennings is asking the county to rezone the 25-acre site to Highway Business use for what he is calling Parkside Promenade.

The two parcels he wants to combine currently are zoned Agricultural and Residential Two-Family Master Plan Development.

Jennings also is asking for a special use approval to allow for the self-storage facility and will ask for a variance to remove the buffer requirement on the northern part of the lot on which the self-storage facility will be located.

The rezone and special use request will be before the Oconee County Planning Commission at its meeting at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13 and before the Board of Commissioners at its meeting at 6 p.m. on Dec. 5. The Board also will hear the variance request.

Both meetings are at the new Oconee County Administrative Building, 7635 Macon Highway.

The Planning Commission also will hear a request from County Commissioner Mark Thomas to change the conditions for a telecommunications tower approved for his property on Cedar Road in the south of the county.

Parkside Promenade Acreage

Jennings’ Athens Construction Group Property Holdings LLC purchased 20 acres that front on Hog Mountain Road and abut the eastern side of Oconee Veterans Park from Rita V. Dooley for $1.4 million on June 23 of this year, according to county tax records.

Abandoned Home, Rezone Signs

An unoccupied, unheated, and unpainted wood-framed house sits on the lot. County tax records state the house was built in 1920.

Jennings wants to combine that parcel with another parcel of 16.3 acres he owns through Parkside Property Development LLC to form the acreage for Parkside Promenade.

Jennings purchased the 16.3-acre parcel in 2013 as part of a 15 parcel, nearly $4 million transaction totaling 500 acres, according to tax records. The 500 acres form the now dormant Parkside.

As part of a settlement with the county over sewage allocations, Jennings agreed to use part of that acreage to build a connector road to Oconee Veterans Park at the eastern side of the multi-use sports fields.

Traffic will be able to enter and exit the park via that connector road, traveling east to the future Dooley Connector.

When the massive Parkside residential complex is complete, Dooley Connector will intersect with Dooley Boulevard, which will run from Hog Mountain Road to Mars Hill Road.

Timing Of Project

The narrative for the rezone does not indicate when the second park entrance will be built.

Dooley Connector 10/30/2023

Concept plans show that the first phase of the Parkside Promenade will require access from Dooley Connector and the unnamed park connector.

According to the narrative submitted with the rezone request, construction on that first phase will begin in 2024 and take one to two years to complete.

At the end of that time period, if not sooner, it should be possible to construct the second Oconee Veterans Park entrance and exit, according to those plans.

As part of that settlement with the county over sewer access, Parkside, which stretches from Mars Hill Road to Hog Mountain Road, will have 776 residential lots, down from 810 in the original proposal.

The settlement stipulates that 269 of those lots will be for persons 55 years old and older.

The acreage used for Parkside Promenade is the first within Parkside being developed.

Promenade Narrative

According to the narrative submitted with the rezone request, Parkside Promenade will include “relatively small-scale business/commercial buildings that provide small shops, cafes, services, attractive self-storage and amenities to OVP, Parkside and area residents.”

Concept Plan Parkside Promenade
Self-Storage Units at Top, Right

“The proposed rezone concept provides pedestrian access/walkability as well as vehicular access to OVP and Parkside Development,” it states.

“Parents and residents visiting OVP would be able to enjoy a copy (cup) of coffee and a sandwich while being able to see their children playing or practicing on the OVP Park sports fields,” according to the narrative.

“It is the intent to develop small attractive individual buildings versus a large commercial center,” the narrative continues.

“Most importantly, the proposed development provides additional access and connectivity to Hog Mountain Road and Mars Hill Road through Dooley Connector/Parkside Development,” it states.

Self-Storage Special Use

The self-storage facility will consist of climate controlled and non climate controlled buildings, according to the documents submitted with the rezone request.

The climate control buildings are to be maximum two-story in height, while the remaining buildings will be one story.

All self-storage buildings will have brick or masonry facades regardless of climate or non-climate classification, according to the submitted documents.

“These attractive structures are being located on site in such a way to minimum (minimize) visibility from proposed roadways and other developments,” the documents state.

Other Buildings

The rezone narrative states that the Parkside Promenade will include a combination of commercial development such as retail shops, a pharmacy, convenience store, offices, including medical offices, restaurants, and service centers.

 Blue Highlighted Area One Of Two Lots 
For Parkside Promenade

The submitted rezone documents specify that no fuel pumps and no drive-through restaurants will be included.

The development will have a maximum of 66,000 square feet in the commercial sector and 107,983 square feet for the self-storage facility.

The new buildings will be one or two stories, with the majority of the buildings one-story, according to the narrative.

The proposed building facades will consist of four-sided predominantly brick, stone, and masonry.

The concept plan shows that lots five to 13 are clustered around a central parking area.

Total build-out of the project is projected to take three to six years.

Jennings also owns an addition 21 acres fronting on Hog Mountain Road under the name Parkside Business Park LLC that is slated for future commercial development.

NOTE: An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified the address of the property where Commissioner Thomas wishes to build a telecommunications tower. I apologize for the error. 


Dan Magee said...

"Owner Mark Jennings is asking the county to rezone the 25-acre site to Highway Business use for what he is calling Parkside Promenade."

1) Mr. Jennings, 53 is not a "highway"

2) Would be a traffic nightmare

3) The 103 year old wood frame house is pretty darn cool

4) Self-storage facilities are the lowest form of economic development

Hope the county commissioners abide by the zoning code that they themselves approved
Y'all set the zoning, now back it up
And keep the buffer

Bill Mayberry said...

Ever since the pretty four-color "Land Use Plan" was considered,
I've been saying and writing that without authority, it is useless.
Looks like I sure was correct.
Bill Mayberry