A proposed rezoning in Oakwood could help speed up potential development — perhaps sooner than later — on a now empty 20.6-acre commercial site between Interstate 985 and Atlanta Highway.
The Oakwood Planning Commission voted Monday night to recommend City Council change the zoning to commercial from planned commercial development.
While the current zoning “gives flexibility in design” of the property, it requires the developer to jump through government hoops.
“It could be 60 days, in some cases, to go back through the process,” City Manager Stan Brown told the commission.
With the proposed zoning, which goes before City Council in December for a final vote, “You can go ahead and submit development plans and move through the process without having to go back through public hearings,” he said.
However, “it wouldn’t relax any (development) standards,” Brown said.
Frank Simpson, president of The Simpson Co. in Gainesville, said the current zoning “makes it very difficult to sell the property, develop the property, to do anything with the property.
“Even though, today, we’re starting to see the retailers come back, they are much more strenuous on prepared sites than they used to be.”
Simpson said his real estate company “is still working on final uses of the property,” but it “is in final discussion with some big-box (retailers) as well as some sit-down restaurants that could eventually locate on the site.”
He said after the meeting that an announcement concerning the property could be made within the next 30-45 days.
“It’s nice to be back before a planning commission,” Simpson said during the meeting.
“I’m glad the market is starting to turn around, and that’s why I’m here tonight.”
He believes the site has “phenomenal visibility,” an attraction for potential developers, especially with area road improvements made in recent years by the Georgia Department of Transportation.
And “the city has done a great job on all the utilities that are all out through there now,” Simpson added.