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Rezoning makes way for Zaxby's
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During Thursday’s three-hour meeting, the Hinesville City Council approved a rezoning request by Obro  Inc. for local attorney Joel Osteen, and a site layout and traffic-circulation plan for a mixed-use development.
The council agreed to rezone a 1.24-acre, two-parcel tract of land on East Oglethorpe Highway between Fraser and Layton streets from office-institutional to general commercial. The rezoned tract, which includes a house and Osteen & Osteen’s office, is the proposed site of a Zaxby’s Restaurant.
The rezoning request was hardly questioned, but there was a lot of discussion about the proposed site plans for the restaurant. The plans include an option to make part of Fraser Street one-way and another option to realign Layton Street so it meets Oglethorpe directly across from the intersection with Memorial Drive. There also was concern about including sound buffers around the restaurant.
Gabriele Hartage of the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission said the option to make part of Fraser Street one-way was included in a Georgia Department of Transportation traffic study that was done years ago for the Highway 84 corridor from Midway to Walthourville. Councilman Keith Jenkins contended he’d never heard about that study, that it obviously was done before he was elected to the council.
“If we can keep from turning it into a one-way street, we should do that,” Councilman David Anderson added.
When the public was invited to provide input on the zoning decision, Osteen and local resident Terry Johnson both agreed with the council, saying they don’t want any one-way streets either.
“We ask for your approval (to rezone the property) for a restaurant, with or without a drive-through,” Osteen said. “Zaxby’s has not made a decision about which site plan to submit for your approval. The two site plans before you today are only two that we’ve discussed. We will come back to the council for your approval of the site plan.”
Johnson told the council he has lived and paid taxes in Hinesville for 40 years. He said he supports locating a restaurant at the proposed site, but is opposed to making any street one-way. He also supports placing sound buffers around the restaurant.
Hartage admitted the rezoning possibly could encourage “sprawl” and affect historic sites in the area. She also said rezoning the property would increase traffic. However, she said the LCPC recommended approval of the rezoning request with standard and special conditions.
The special conditions include allowing use for a restaurant only, conducting a traffic-impact study, addressing the sound-buffering issue and taking the final site plan before the LCPC and city council. The council unanimously approved the request.
Hartage also presented a request for approval of a site layout and traffic-circulation plan for 7.82 acres at the corner of South Main Street and Veterans Parkway. The request was submitted by P.C. Simonton & Associates on behalf of the Michael E. Bryant Trust. The property, which adjoins Lowe’s on Veterans Parkway, is the proposed site of a mixed-use development that would include a bank, restaurants and retail facilities.
The only concern raised about the site was traffic access points into the proposed development. During the rezoning of the property in 2011, the council placed special conditions on the site layout and traffic-circulation plan prior to development. Hartage said those conditions have been met. The council approved the plan.
For more information about the proposed development and other agenda items discussed in Thursday’s council meeting, see Wednesday’s Courier.

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