Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Oconee County Planning Commission Quickly Approves Request For Downzone For Five-Lot Subdivision

***216 Acres Remain Zoned For Smaller Lots***

The Oconee County Planning Commission devoted a little more than three minutes on Monday night to the request by Rancho Tesoros LLC to downzone and subdivide 68 acres into five single family residential lots.

The 68 acres are in the small triangle of Oconee County bordered by Clarke and Oglethorpe counties on the eastern side of the Oconee River. 

Following a brief presentation by Guy Herring, the county’s director of Planning and Code Enforcement and an even briefer presentation by Justin Greer, representing the applicant, the Commission unanimously recommended that the downzone request be granted.

No one spoke in favor of the rezone other than Greer, and no one spoke in opposition.

Discussion consisted of Commission Member Matt Elder asking about the size of the surrounding acreage not part of the rezone request.

In 2007, the county had rezoned 284.3 acres then owned by Frances Gissendaner for a 197-lot single-family subdivision to be called Old Barnett Estates.

The 68-acre parcel was carved from that, leaving 216 acres zoned for smaller lot development.

The Board of Commissioners will take up the recommendation of the Planning Commission and the rezone request itself at its meeting on March 5.

Water The Issue

“Pretty simple request tonight,” Justin Greer of Pittman and Greer Engineering told the Commission as he came to the podium to speak on behalf of Rancho Tesoros LLC.

Concept Plan For Five-Lot Subdivision
(Click To Enlarge)

“This property was zoned in 2007 for AR for subdivisions,” he said, “and it was a 197-lot subdivision.” AR stands for Agricultural Residential.

“What we're looking to do is take this portion out of that and basically treat it like a five-lot administrative split with larger lots,” Greer said.

“I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have,” he said.

Elder wanted to know how large the remaining acreage was, and Herring said it was 284 minus 68, or 216 acres. 

The concept plan submitted for that rezone will be rendered inapplicable if the Board votes to approve the request for the 68 acres.

The rezone in 2007 was controversial both because of its size and because it required the county to extend a water line across the Oconee River to reach the subdivision.

“No construction plans were approved for the proposed ‘Old Barnett Estates’ subdivision, and no road or utility improvements were made after the rezoning approval,” the county planning staff wrote in its Staff Report on the rezone request.

Rancho Tesoros is proposing that the five lots be served by individual private wells.


The video below is of the Planning Commission meeting and is on the county’s YouTube Channel.

The meeting starts at 7:56 in the video.

Herring began his presentation on the request at 10:12, and was followed by Greer at 11:05, and the Commission voted at 13:21.

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