Proposed grocery store and mall at intersection of Hog Mountain Road, US 78 | New

The Oconee County Planning Commission on Monday recommended approval for the rezoning of a 42.76-acre shopping center at the intersection of US 78 and Hog Mountain Road. Planning Department staff also recommend rezoning approval, subject to conditions.

Only one citizen-appointed commissioner, Nathan Byrd, voted against the motion. The Oconee Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing and call a vote on the matter on Tuesday, August 2 at 6 p.m.

The development calls for a 13-lot mixed-use commercial development called Shops of Oconee Crossing.

The proposed development includes a 48,000 square foot grocery store, four drive-thru fast food restaurants, a 5,000 square foot car wash, two office buildings totaling 20,000 square feet, 152,000 square feet of retail and a 20,000 square foot office/retail building.

In addition, the site plan includes 1,505 new parking spaces and pedestrian access from the neighborhood adjacent to the grocery store.

The mall will be called Shops of Oconee Crossing, despite strong opposition from the neighborhood that bears that name.

At the meeting, no citizen voted in favor of the request. Stanton Porter, an attorney representing the owners of Oconee Crossing, listed the reasons for denying the request.

What is unique about this project, he explained, is that the Oconee Crossing subdivision, built in 1996, was part of the overall development rezone in September 1990, changing from agriculture to company.

The project at the time proposed a smaller building size for the anchor and did not include drive-throughs. One of the stores could have been a 10,000 square foot Blockbuster. The project never materialized according to the initial rezoning.

“Each of the owners purchased their home knowing that the property in question would likely be developed but under B-1 terms,” Porter said. “It gives them a more direct interest.”

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Edwin S. Wolfe