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5-7-07 Oconee’s Master Planned Developments have mixed history and success

Could it be that good schools and a good county reputation were not enough incentives to lure folks to scattered sites in rural areas of Oconee County? Many have sidewalks that are limited to the developments. There are no services or shopping facilities in walking distance or even for a short drive.

AVOC

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May 6, 2007

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Oconee’s Master Planned Developments (MPDs) have mixed history and success

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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The Oconee BOC drastically changed Oconee Sewer and residential policies in the first Melvin Davis Term at a retreat (9-12-02) and called meeting on Friday afternoon before the Georgia-Florida Game.   The public only became aware of this substantial change in County Policy over the next couple of years with the proliferation of small lot subdivisions all over the upper half of Oconee County.

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The policy has led to exhaustion of the County’s Sewer Capacity in late 2004.   Developers were allowed to “purchase sewer capacity” and run force mains from scattered points in the county.

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One development, Creekside on Jimmy Daniell Road near the Atlanta Highway, seems to have developed well.      4-20-04 Oconee Is Building Homes on Fast Track

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One of the first ones, Copperville on Union Church Road, has been slow.   Some houses have been sitting for over two years.   A recent drive-through Copperville indicated 9 houses completed or under construction with two being occupied.  

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Copperville Development on Union Church Road

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Brookshire on Rocky Branch Road was the site of several houses involved in a local mortgage fraud case.It slowed down after 10 houses were foreclosed in one courthouse sale.

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6-9-06 Builder in Oconee County MPD (Brookshire) bites the dust"

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Unfinished home in Foreclosure in Brookshire in June 2006

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Coldwater, on Union Church and Whippoorwill Roads, brought out much objection and a lawsuit.   It has some completed streets with little other activity.  There are rumors of foreclosure or financial reversals of the developer.A number of lots look developed, paved streets, water, sewer etc.  However, they are overgrown with grass and broom sage.

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Coldwater Entrance on Whippoorwill Road

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Coldwater Lots Off Union Church Road

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The biggest, Westland on Goat Farm Road and U S Hwy 78, was the largest with 400 lots.Water and sewer lines were run to it.AVOC sources indicated that sewer capacity was bought.   Goat Farm Road would be closed and a new road would be built.   The new road is not built after more than a year.   The entrance on Hwy 78 has a nice entrance with tree –lined medians that now seem overgrown.   There are many developed lots but no houses.

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Westland Entrance Off Hwy 78 (Medians)

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Westland Street & Runoff Problems

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Goat Farm Road Closed but no new road for longtime residents

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One of the most densely planned MPDs was on Lenru Road at Bogart.Approximately 240 units were planned on about 80 acres.There are paved streets and utility stubs and many completed residences.   Not many are occupied and For Sale signs are all over the place.

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Small Lot Houses for Sale off Lenru Road

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Sign on Hwy 78 for Lots off Lenru Road

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Lenru Road (County Maintained) Leading to Large Development

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Could it be that good schools and a good county reputation were not enough incentives to lure folks to scattered sites in rural areas of Oconee County?   Many have sidewalks that are limited to the developments.   There are no services or shopping facilities in walking distance or even for a short drive.

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QUESTIONS:Did the county get paid for sewer capacity?Is the capacity committed even though a development may not make it or goes “belly-up”?   Will school buses have to drive the streets to pick up students from only one or two houses?   What happens to the Streets if few houses are occupied?   What if Taxes are not paid on the expensive properties?

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FOR BACKGROUND, CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINKS:

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4-09-04 Oconee County MPD Ordinances Were "Hatched and Birthed” in Secrecy

5-5-04 Oconee County Opened Pandora’s Box With Residential Sewer Policy Change

5-10-04 Oconee’s “˜Pot of Gold” Fuels MPDs & Land Rush

5-14-04 Thoughts on Changing Oconee County Policies on Sewer Service & Growth

5-4-05 Sewer Capacity, Cost and Effort, and Oconee County Plans

4-20-04 Oconee Is Building Homes on Fast Track

5-5-04 Watkinsville Developer Proposed MPD in Griffin - Coldwater - Part 1

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MPD Location Map

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MPD List

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Minutes of BOC CALLED MEETING held on Friday afternoon at 5:00 PM (GA-FLA Game Weekend) on November 1, 2002 to approve MPDs -


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