Sunday, May 19, 2024

Oconee County Planning Staff Recommends Denial Of Rezone Request For Duplexes Just North Of Watkinsville

***Staff Sees Conflict With Comprehensive Plan***

The Oconee County Planning Commission on Monday will get a rare recommendation from the county’s planning staff–that it deny a request for a rezone–as it reviews plans for development of 3.4 acres on Moreland Way just north of the Watkinsville city limits.

Pittman and Greer Engineering, on behalf of property owner Richard Grayson, wants to combine two parcels, one zoned Mobile Home District (M-H) and the other Agricultural Residential District (AR) , to create a single lot zoned Two-Family Residential District (R-2).

Pittman and Greer submitted a concept plan showing two single-story duplexes accessible off Moreland Way and backing up to U.S. 441.

The county planning staff says the requested R-2 zoning is “not consistent with the adjacent uses that are single family residences” and that there is “no adjacent R-2 zoning or any R-2 zoning in the vicinity.”

The Planning Commission, which makes recommendations to the Board of Commissioners, will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday at the county Administrative Building, 7635 Macon Highway, a short distance from the site of the proposed development.

The Grayson request is the sole item on the agenda for Monday night. The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to decide on the request at its June 4 meeting.

Specifics Of Request

The county Staff Report says that the current zoning for both parcels Grayson is asking to rezone were created when the county adopted zoning in 1968.

Proposed Site For Duplexes

The county granted a demolition permit in 2017 for a single family home on the smaller parcel of 0.5 acres that is currently zoned M-H, according to the report.

That parcel is part of the Moreland Heights subdivision, dated Feb. 2, 1962, the report states.

Grayson is seeking to combine the two parcels, rezone them to R-2, divide the property into two lots, each sized 1.7 acres, and construction a duplex on each.

Since no sewer is available, the proposed dwellings will use on-site septic systems.

According to the narrative submitted with the rezone request, Grayson plans to “construct and retain the residences” and make “them available to rental market once completed.”

The units proposed will have a minimum of 1,600 square feet and be either one or two bedroom units.

The two lots currently are mostly wooded and undeveloped.

Nature Of Objection

The Grayson property is surrounded on three sides by property zoned AR and M-H and on the fourth side by Georgia Department of Transportation right of way for U.S. 441.

The single-family residence adjoining the Grayson property currently zoned M-H on one side has brick exterior walls, and the single family residence on the other side, also zoned M-H, has half brick and half wood siding exterior walls, according to county tax records. 

The county stopped accepting applications for property to be zoned M-H in 2019, according to the county Unified Development Code. Applications may be accepted for modifications of property with that zoning provided that the changes do not increase the land area or density of use.

Allowed by right in that district are single-family, detached manufactured homes.

The planning staff "finds the proposed R-2 zone is NOT in conformity with the (county) Comprehensive Plan as this is not a part of a mixed-use project,” according to the staff report.

While it is quite normal for the planning staff to recommend that conditions be placed on a rezone, it is quite uncommon that it recommends denial of a rezone request.

If the Commissioners decide to approve the request, the staff recommends that the owner be responsible for improvements required to provide public water to the two units and that the units have facades that consist primarily of brick, stone, stucco, or lap siding consisting of painted wood lap or fiber cement board siding.”

“No vinyl or metal siding shall be allowed,” the staff recommends.

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