Commercial and residential developments are growing in Liberty County, and the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission is preparing and planning for it.
Rachel Hatcher, LCPC planning director, said the Georgia Department of Transportation conducted a traffic study from 2006-08 called Recommendations of the Highway 84 Corridor Study. Two recommendations from that study were mentioned recently in a city council meeting, when a request was made to rezone two parcels of land on Highway 84 between Layton and Fraser streets.
Gabriele Hartage, LCPC planner, said proposed site plans for a Zaxby’s incorporated suggestions from the GDOT study. One suggestion makes part of Fraser Street one-way; another recommendation re-aligns part of Layton Street so that it lines up with the intersection of Memorial Drive.
“This is an area that involves significant impacts to business and residents,” Hatcher said. “There have been a lot of fresh looks at that (GDOT) study, including the Long-Range Transportation Plan that was updated by (Hinesville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) and the recent Transportation Investment Act.”
Hatcher said the GDOT study and recent re-evaluations stress that improvements need to be done to increase traffic safety and relieve traffic congestion in certain areas along the Highway 84 corridor between Interstate 95 in Midway to Walthourville.
“Even if Zaxby’s doesn’t develop here, there would be a need for improvements,” she said, noting a new study would be done before the developer would submit a final site plan. “Re-aligning Layton Street is a good idea, no matter what’s developed here.”
During the same council meeting, council members approved the site layout and traffic-circulation plan for a proposed development on 7.82 acres on South Main Street and Veterans Parkway. The proposed site, which borders Lowe’s, is approved as a mixed-used development. Hatcher said the development could include a bank, several restaurants and retail outlets. She emphasized, however, that no formal site plans have been submitted to LCPC by the developer, Michael E. Bryant Trust.
“These are proposed uses only,” she said, noting the property has been re-zoned for mixed-use and previous concerns about traffic access points were addressed during the recent council meeting. “It’s prime for development now.”
Hatcher said another proposed commercial-development plan in Liberty County includes a McDonald’s on U.S. 84 at I-95 in Midway. She said no plan has been submitted, although the proposal is slated to be discussed by the LCPC and Midway city council in July. Because the site is within the Gateway Overlay District, she said the proposal first would have to be reviewed by LCPC’s design review board.
Hartage said a new residential development is under way in Walthourville. Much of the land already has been cleared for Hampton Ridge subdivision in Walthourville, which will be located at the intersection of Dunlevie Road and E.B. Cooper Road on Highway 119. The development will include lots for as many as 85 homes, she said.