Signs urging county officials not to “Gwinnett Our Oconee” reappeared Monday night while the Oconee Planning Commission deliberated on a rezone to allow a Publix and shopping center where Mars Hill Road intersects with itself at the Oconee Connector. 

The Oconee Planning Commission voted 6-1 to recommend denial of the rezone. 

Those who voted for the motion were Nick Hobbs, Nathan Byrd, Stephen Goad, Chris Herring, Mike Floyd and Gavin Jordan. Matt Elder voted against the motion. 

The Oconee Planning Commission is an advisory group comprised of appointed citizens. The rezone request now heads to the Oconee Board of Commissioners Tuesday, Dec. 6 at the Oconee County Courthouse. That meeting starts at 6 p.m. 

The BOC voted against a similar request on the same property last year (The project has since been scaled down to longer involve a residential tract, plans for a hotel and used-car lot have been jettisoned, and there is more pedestrian connectivity and pedestrian use of natural landscapes).

The proposed commercial uses per lots are as follows:

  •  10.89-acre lot to accommodate a 48,387-square-foot Publix and 9,167 square feet of attached and detached retail shops. Per the applicant, this proposed development is under contract. 
  •  A 2.15-acre lot that can accommodate up to 5,720 square feet of an upscale convenience store. 
  •  A 1.24-acre lot for a 4,000-square-foot bank/financial services building. 
  •  A 1.42-acre lot for a single-story 11,000-square-foot retail building. 
  •  A 0.80-acre for a 3,500-square-foot fast-food building. 
  •  A 1.29-acre lot for a single-story 11,610-square-foot retail building of allowed use. 
  •  A 1.41-acre lot for a single-story 12,690-square-foot building of B-1 retail/service use. 
  •  A 1.83-acre lot for a single-story 6,500-square-foot fast casual restaurant building. 
  •  A 1.31-acre lot for a single-story 10,000-square-foot building of B-1 retail/service use. 
  •  A 2.58-acre lot for a 5,000-square-foot car wash.
  •  A 6.57-acre lot that can accommodate up to 59,130 square feet of general office uses in up to three one- and two-story buildings. 

An additional 17,781 average daily trip are estimated with 1,137 a.m. peak hours and 1,722 p.m. peak hours 

Proposed access locations would include three access points on Mars Hill Road and one access point on the Oconee Connector, as well as future ingress and egress from Virgil Langford Road

The applicant has asked for a traffic signal at the Oconee Connector, but the Oconee Planning Department has instead recommended a right-in, right-out only access. 

The Planning Department has also recommended that the driveways along Mars Hill Road be reduced to one full-access entrances and two right-in, right-out entrance as follows: 

  •  One roundabout shall be installed at Hollow Creek Lane
  •  One right-in, right-out entrance on lot one
  •  One right-in, right-out entrance on lot two. 

A roundabout shall also be installed at the intersection of the two interior private drives, according to Planning Department recommendations. 

The county also included the following conditions for pedestrian use: 

  •  An internal sidewalk network shall connect all uses within the development to sidewalks along Oconee Connector and Mars Hill Road. 
  •  Pedestrian connectivity shall be provided throughout the development, including raised decorative crosswalks. 
  •  Pedestrian facilities shall be provided connecting the development to Hollow Creek Lane. 

For more on this story, see the Nov. 17 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

(1) comment


The southwest corner of the county desperately needs a major grocery store. From Dove Creek, it is a 40-minute round-trip to Publix if you have forgotten one ingredient and are in the middle of cooking dinner.

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