Saturday, February 17, 2024

Request To Downzone Acreage From 197-Lot Subdivision Before Oconee County Planning Commission

***Five-Lot Subdivision Proposed***

An Athens limited liability company is asking Oconee County to downzone 68 acres from a dormant 284-acre subdivision in the small triangle of Oconee County on the eastern side of the Oconee River.

The applicant, Rancho Tesoros LLC, plans to subdivide the 68 acres into five single family residential lots.

The 2007 rezone of the larger 284 acres authorized creation of 197 single-family lots, each served by county water.

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

One proposal had been that the line be attached to the bridge that carries Barnett Shoals Road across the river, and questions were raised about the ability of the bridge to accommodate such a line.

As a condition of that 2007 rezone, the developer was required to extend the line 1.7 miles, crossing the river. The county never approved any actual construction plans and no water line was extended across the river.

According to county water system maps, no county water lines currently extend to that orphaned triangle of Oconee county, which is bordered by Clarke and Oglethorpe counties.

The current rezone request by Rancho Tesoros, which is before the Planning Commission on Monday evening, calls for the five lots to be served by individual private wells. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the county Administrative Building.

Proposed Rezone

According to county tax records, Richard and Patricia Torrey purchased the 68.3 acres from Charlene Richards for $819,480 on Sept. 7, 2023, and then transferred the property to Rancho Tesoros LLC on Nov. 14, 2023.

Click To Enlarge

Richard Torrey filed Articles of Organization for Rancho Tesoros on October 23, 2023, with an address of 131 Pine Ridge Trace, Athens.

As a result of the 2007 rezone, the property is currently zoned AR (Agricultural Residential), and Rancho Tesoros is seeking to downzone the property to AG (Agricultural).

The property is vacant and wooded and is adjacent to the retired Barnett Shoals hydro-electric power plant and dam.

The concept plan submitted with the rezone are for a proposed subdivision of five single family lots with frontage on Old Barnett Shoals Road.

The proposed lots range in size from 10.2 acres to 19.5 acres.

Old Barnett Shoals Road does not meet current county zoning standards, according to the Oconee County Planning Staff Report. The road would have to be improved by the developer to meet those standards.

The Oconee County Planning Staff has recommended conditional approval of the request.

“The request to downzone to allow five acre lots would be a decrease in the impact to schools from the current zoning,” the report notes.

2007 Rezone

The 2007 rezone changed the 284.3 acres owned by Frances Gissendaner from A-1 to AR-1, which currently is the AR District.

David Bird of Loganville, represented by Beall and Company, had submitted plans for what was called Old Barnett Estates and was described as an “upscale residential, single family subdivision.”

The narrative stated that “Oconee County water mains exist on the western side of the Oconee River approximately 8,900 LF (about 1.7 miles) from the intersection of Old Barnett Shoals Road and Barnett Shoals Road.”

The proposal was for extension of that line across the river and ultimately along an improved Old Barnett Shoals Road, from which access to the subdivision was to be provided.

Both the proposed Old Barnett Estates and the new subdivision proposed by Rancho Tesoros LLC are east of Old Barnett Shoals Road.

ICY Forest LLC owns the acreage from the 2007 rezone not covered by the Rancho Tesoros request, according to county tax records.

That land remains as zoned in 2007, but the concept plan would be made inapplicable by the rezone before the Planning Commission on Monday

According to county tax records, Gissendanner transferred ownership of the acreage to ICY Forest on Nov. 14, 2014.

ICY Forest was organized on Sept. 5, 2014, with Haywood Scott Lowrey, attorney, 2500 Daniells Bridge Road, Building 200, listed as the organizer.

No comments: