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Oconee Zoning Decisions Will Affect Athens Residents

Oconee County commissioners on Tuesday night will be asked to decide whether to allow a convenience store, a ministry college campus and an expansion of a community-scale church, all on land zoned for agriculture.

Two of the rezones are in the only part of Oconee County east of the Oconee River—a triangle of land assigned to the county when it was split off from Clarke County in 1875.

The commission’s decision on the convenience store will have impact on Athens-Clarke County residents, who live across Bob Godfrey Road from the proposed old-fashioned general store.

The convenience store decision also will have impact on Oglethorpe County residents, who live a short distance east of the proposed site, which is on the southeast side of the intersection of Bob Godfrey Road and Belmont Road.

None of the three counties provides water and sewer services to the area, and the ministry college says it will need both as it builds out to a 750-student campus over the next 10 plus years. It could turn to Athens-Clarke County for water and sewer.

The issue before the commission—whether to grant special use permits in agricultural zoning areas—is reminiscent of the one it confronted back in January, when it turned down a request to allow for a solar farm in agricultural land at the opposite end of the county near the Barrow County and Walton County lines.

For more, visit Oconee County Observations.