True to his word, Watkinsville City Councilman Dan Matthews cast the sole nay vote for Wisteria Ridge because the 89-unit plan will have a gate around it. 

Four other council members approved a development agreement, ensuring that the project will move forward with a maintenance guarantee of 25 years. 

The gate will be past the sales office and thus not visible from the road, said developer Chad Keller. 

“To me, it’s a security feature in a high-end apartment,” said Councilwoman Christine Tucker.

Matthews’ rejoinder was that it did not seem in character with the city of Watkinsville. 

The design of the sales office did change following Matthews’ April criticism of the conceptual drawings. 

Keller said he hired an interior decorator and scouted local houses and buildings with desirable architectural elements. He described the leasing center as having an  “urban farm” look with a metal roof and long front porch with rocking chairs. Keller drew inspiration from the exterior of Laura Wengert Moore’s home at 21 South Main Street and the stained glass of Ashford Memorial Methodist Church. 

Inside the sales office will be 14-foot ceilings with a gym and stained glass facing the road, said Keller. 

“We want to tie this thing into Watkinsville,” he said. “We are really working to do that.” 

Wisteria Ridge will have nine one-bedroom apartments, 50 two-bedroom apartments and 30 three-bedroom apartments. Keller and attorney Jeff DeLoach said it’s too early to give exact figures for leases. At a previous meeting, he gave a range of $1,100 to $1,800 per month. 

For more on this story, see the May 23 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. 

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