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Oconee Commission Rejects Controversial Shopping Center

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners, in a 3 to 1 vote Tuesday night, turned down the rezone request by Maxie Price’s Deferred Tax LLC for a rezone of nearly 47 acres at the corner of the Oconee Connector and Mars Hill Road.

Commissioner Chuck Horton made the motion for the denial after a public hearing and discussion among the commissioners that lasted nearly 90 minutes. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Mark Saxon.

Commissioner Amrey Harden joined in the vote to deny the change that would have allowed for a development that included a Publix, two hotels, restaurants, retail outlets and a car dealership.

Commissioner Mark Thomas cast the only vote against the motion to deny the request.

Four citizens spoke against the rezone request, with traffic dominating their concerns. Only land planner Ken Beall, representing Price, advocated for the project.

The project was also controversial due to State Transportation Board member Jamie Boswell’s involvement in securing a median cut for the development. Price is a client of Boswell’s real estate business.

Beall introduced a new concept plan for the development that included a two-lane roundabout on the Oconee Connector between the planned flyover by the connector of SR 316 and Mars Hill Road/Daniells Bridge Road and a roundabout plus three other entrances to the subdivision on Mars Hill Road.

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