A residential developer left the Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday dissatisfied with the board’s decision to mandate larger lot sizes.

The BOC recently changed the Unified Development Code so that homes in R-1, or single family residential, on septic must have a minimum of 1.5 acres, rather than the former 0.687.

On Tuesday, the BOC placed lot-size conditions on several residential rezones. The applicants had submitted their rezone requests prior to the UDC change.

The first request came from Rodney Jones, who is seeking to develop a nine-lot subdivision on 10 acres at the junction of Mars Hill and Long roads. The houses, which will be valued at an average of $800,000, will resemble the homes across the street in Meridian, another neighborhood that he developed. 

Jones, who boasted about the tax revenue generated from the proposed subdivision, said he would have to reduce the scope of the project from nine house to five if the minimum lot size is 1.5 acres.

He asked both in writing prior to the meeting and verbally during the meeting for his rezone to be tabled if the county won’t waive the condition.

Even though the Planning Commission voted in favor of waiving the condition, the BOC ignored its recommendation and approved the rezone with the 1.5-acre minimum mandate. 

“To me, it looks like there’s no creativity,” said Commissioner Chuck Horton, describing the houses as being “stacked up” or “packed in.”

Planning & Code Enforcement Department Assistant Director Gabriel Quintas said that regardless of the UDC change, the recommendation for the larger minimum-lot size was based on the Oconee County Comprehensive Plan. 

Jones told The Oconee Enterprise that it’s too early to say how he will proceed with the project.


Oconee Heights

The next request came from Sapphire Properties, which sought what was originally going to be a 40-lot single-family neighborhood on 42.5 acres off Ruth Jackson Road. The subdivision would be called Oconee Heights. 

The craftsman-style homes will be priced between $400,000 and $500,000 with development proposed in one phase over a two or three-year period. 

Citing increased traffic, Ruth Jackson Road resident Rachel Cooper spoke against the request and gave the names of several neighbors who shared her views. She asked the BOC to enforce a 2-acre-lot minimum. 

After much discussion, the BOC voted 3-2 to approve the rezone with 1-acre lot minimums. 

For more on this story, see the Sept. 5 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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