Saturday, June 01, 2024

GDOT Published Required Legal Notice For Planned Dials Mill Extension Diamond Interchange At SR 316

***Opposition To Decision Ongoing***

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) on Thursday published in The Oconee Enterprise, the county’s legal organ, a required Notice of Location and Design Approval for a diamond interchange at SR 316 and Dials Mill Extension.

GDOT also published the Notice in the May 16 and May 23 editions of the paper and after publication of the fourth notice on June 6, GDOT will be free to begin acquiring right of way needed for the project.

According to the approved plans GDOT presented to the public at its virtual Public Information Open House on March 22 and currently available on the GDOT web site, the design will require the displacement of four homes and extensive additional right of way acquisition.

GDOT already has begun preliminary discussions with at least one of those home owners in an effort to relocate the family.

The Wilbert Group, a public relations firm out of Atlanta, has continued to run an aggressive media campaign against the design that features pictures of GDOT demolishing homes.

The owner of the property on the northwest corner of Dials Mill Road and SR 316 is sponsoring that campaign, according to Mark Braykovich, Executive Vice President of The Wilbert Group.

The social media campaign urges citizens to write GDOT expressing support for an earlier plan that would have put the SR 316 interchange at Dials Mill Road rather than Dials Mill Extension.

Four Properties For Displacement

The layout for the Dials Mill Road and Dials Mill Extension project currently on the GDOT web site shows four properties labeled as “displaced.”

These are owned by John Allen Drew LLC, John J. and Jennifer Vogel, Stephanie P. McClain and Matthew Charles Mann, and Ingrid Allcast Lopez and John Angel Diez, according to that document.

Paige McClain Mann told me in a telephone interview on May 31 that she and her husband have been approached by GDOT for what was called a “relocation interview.”

She said GDOT has not yet made any specific offer and that she was told GDOT does not yet have funds released for the purchase of property.

Page said the property owned by Lopez and Diez is vacant.

The property owned by John Allen Drew has an occupied mobile home on it that is rented. Drew purchased that property in 2014, according to county tax records.

Drew tried unsuccessfully to have that property rezoned for medical offices in 2020.

The Board of Commissioners denied the request on July 7 of that year.

Legal Advertisement

The legal advertisement in the Enterprise states that the design approval date for the Dials Mill Extension and Dials Mill Road project was April 30, 2024.

Clip Of Design
Red Dot Means Displacement

According to the GDOT Plan Development Process manual dated Feb. 15, 2024, a Location and Design Report with Notice of Location and Design Approval “is required for all projects that need additional right-of-way or easement.”

The manual cites the Georgia Code referenced in the advertisements in the Enterprise advertisement.

“The Notice of Location and Design Approval is to be advertised for four consecutive weeks in the newspaper(s) that carry the sheriff’s advertisements, beginning within 30 days of approval of the Location and Design Report,” the manual states.

The first advertisement appeared in the Enterprise on May 16, with the last to appear on June 6.

GDOT will be allowed to begin right of way acquisition at that point.

Project Description

The legal advertisement in the Enterprise provides a verbal description of the plans that were approved on April 30, and they match those presented to the public back in March.

The advertisement states that “a diamond interchange is proposed with roundabout controlled ramp terminals at the intersection of Dials Mill Extension and SR 316.”

“The intersection of Dials Mill Road and SR 316 is proposed to be closed with a cul-de-sac on both sides of SR 316,” the legal advertisement reads.

“Dials Mill Road south of SR 316 will be realigned to intersect with Dials Mill Extension with a T-intersection,” the advertisement reads. “Dials Mill Spur will be realigned to tie into Dials Mill Extension just south of the roundabout ramp terminal.”

The realignments of Dials Mill Extension and Dials Mill Spur require the four replacements, the plans on the GDOT web site show.

NOTE: Kevin Dewitt, GDOT District 1 Area 2 Manager, confirmed in an email at 8:24 a.m. on June 3 that the April 30 plan is the one on the GDOT web site GDOT web site. 

Other Right Of Way Needs

According to the plans on the GDOT web site, additional right of way will be required both north and south of SR 316.

North of SR 316 at the Dials Mill Extension interchange and roundabout right of way will be required from property that Mike Power and the Estate of Jerry R. Huff had rezoned in February of 2022 for a multi-use commercial development.

Facebook 5/30/2024

Significant acreage also will need to be taken from a large undeveloped tract of land owned by John C. Michael and the John C. Michael estate.

The GDOT plans also show it requiring some right of way for the westbound exit of traffic from SR 316 to Dials Mill Extension from property that is owned by UCS Dials Mill Road LLC.

Marcia L. Ulm is the Authorizer Signature for UCS Dials Mill Road LLC, which applied for and received a permit in January to demolish a historic home on the property. UCS subsequently demolished the home.

Braykovich from The Wilbert Group said his firm is responsible for the social media campaign on behalf of UCS Dials Mill Road LLC opposing the GDOT plans.

The advertisements argue that GDOT is “tearing down homes and displacing families,” “blocking critical disaster relief services,” “wasting $8 million in taxpayer dollars,” and “pandering to a wealthy neighborhood.”

GDOT responded to some of those arguments in a letter it released following the virtual Public Information Open House in March.

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