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More businesses on McLarrys Curve?
Proposed design for the a business development along McLarrys curve in Flemington
This drawing shows the proposed design of a planned business development along McLarry's Curve on East Oglethorpe Highway in Flemington. - photo by Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission

McLarry’s Curve in Flemington could see more businesses in the near future.

The owners of the wooded areas across from Parker’s on Oglethorpe Highway have joined together and proposed to build a commercial development.

Their proposal was presented to the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission, which voted for a recommendation of approval, during its recent meeting. The plan will go before the Flemington City Council next for final approval.

NSJ Properties, Homer L. Smith Estate and Johnny and Dwayne Reddish filed a petition to rezone a total of 10.5 acres, from R-1, single-family residential, to B-2, general commercial. The business development would include restaurants, a convenience store/gas station and retail businesses. The development would follow the 2015 comprehensive future land-use map, which shows that area as eventually becoming commercial.

According to the design, Old Sunbury Road would have to be realigned so the entry to the development can be directly across Oglethorpe Highway from that road. There will be a traffic light there, creating a four-way intersection and a raised median. The LCPC staff added a special condition to the proposal for intersection improvements to be in place before development. Improvements include a right-of-way and traffic signal.

LCPC Zoning Administrator Gabriele Hartage said during her zoning analysis that the project could have a possible adverse effect on nearby properties. She said there will be residential houses on the sides of the properties. Commercial development could affect the values of those homes.

Some of the commissioners were concerned about being in compliance with the Georgia Department of Transportation’s plans for that area.

Aaron Duncan, owner of U.S. Real Estate Professionals, who represents some of the property owners, said there is a GDOT plan for a three-way intersection in the area, and they are working with a developer to work out the issues. The GDOT has scheduled intersection improvements for McLarry’s Curve for 2017. Duncan thinks the traffic light can go in sooner if things are worked out with the developers.

Herbert Stacy, owner for Stacy’s Florist, inquired about the road improvements that will come with the construction.

“Right now, there is a pipe that goes from Homer’s house that’s right in the curve, which is the low spot, lower than the curving gutter pipes,” Stacy said. “That goes under the road and across to Old Hines Road. From there, it cuts a corner and goes under Old Sunbury Road and dumps out all the water on my property. I want to be sure that I have no more water coming across. Sometimes, the water gets knee-deep on my property.”

He said he hopes that the drainage situation will be corrected during construction.

Thomas Carter, owner of Thomas Carter Funeral Home, felt that the business development might take away from the look of Flemington.

“All the development that’s coming into Flemington is going to take away from its current old-time set up,” Carter said. “I’m concerned about what types of restaurants are being allowed in there. I want there to be some kind of restriction on these restaurants that are allowed to come in. I don’t want to see a liquor store in there that stays open until midnight, 1 o’clock. It’s just a concern about the old community.”

He mentioned that 100-year-old live oaks would be cut down and that he did everything to save the trees in his yard.

“The curve is congested as it is,” Carter said. “Putting a light there to stop it is not going to get rid of the congestion. It’s just going to stop and make it that much longer to get through.”

Carter said he isn’t opposed to the rezoning because everything around the curve is commercial, but he wants to see regulations on the development. He brought up Parker’s as an example.

“He (the owner) went to the extent of making his gas station look like it fits in Flemington,” he said. “It doesn’t look like a modern convenience store. When you drive by when the lights are off, it looks like an old building that’s been there. My building is over 100 years old, too.”

LCPC Chairman Jack Shuman told Carter that he understands his concerns.

“Your concerns would be addressed at a later time,” Shuman said. “The city of Flemington will be very strict and enforcing. They will be very adamant as to what goes there. Your concerns will be addressed at that time, and I don’t think that will be an issue.”

“But it starts here,” Carter said. “The groundwork is here (at the LCPC meeting).”

“I understand, I really do,” Shuman answered.

Shuman called on engineer Matthew Barrow with P.C. Simonton and Associates to address some of the concerns.

Barrow said Stacy’s concerns were valid. There is an even, low spot on both sides of highway with pipes connected to each other. He said he hopes that when the GDOT does its planned work at the intersection, it won’t worsen the situation. Barrow also suggested that the GDOT may have its own idea for the water discharge. For the development, he said there is an area for water discharge and, as long as the ordinances are followed, the issue should be resolved.

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