Presbyterian Homes of Georgia has submitted plans to the Oconee County Planning Department that would shift its approved residential retirement facility from the commercial area of Butler's Crossing outside Watkinsville to a residential area on Rocky Branch Road.
The nonprofit corporation from Quitman plans to build a $77 million Continuing Care Retirement Facility that would include cottages, villas, an apartment building, a health services center and a support building on the south side of Rocky Branch Road next door to a phase of the Rowan Oak gated community and across from Old Waverly subdivision.
The PHG facility would be on a 96-acre tract rezoned in 1997 for the Autumn Glen subdivision. Though streets and some other infrastructure were built on the site, no homes were constructed, and the site currently is closed to the public with a cable stretched across its entrance.
PHG is seeking to rezone the land from its current R-1 status to R-3 and to get a variance from the county Unified Development Code so it can construct two buildings higher than the allowed 40-feet.
Opposition to the rezone already has developed, with a web site arguing that rezone would negatively impact the existing neighborhoods and an online petition to the Board of Commissioners.
For details of the proposal and the background of the project, go to Oconee County Observtions.