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Thurmon Tanner growth has to wait
Oakwood wants OK on design plan for road by January
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Oakwood has put a hold on any development plans for Thurmon Tanner Parkway through January, past when the project is set to be completed, so it can put together a corridor design plan.

"Mainly, the intent is to get good quality development that can be consistent with what we're trying to do with our Oakwood 2030 plan," City Manager Stan Brown said, referring to the city's long-range vision for the downtown area.

"We're spending $17 million on this road, between the city, county and state, and we want to make sure we get the proper development ... so we don't end up with metal buildings, flea markets and things like that."

The four-lane road is set for a Dec. 31 completion, running between Plainview and Mundy Mill roads.

It represents the final stretch of Thurmon Tanner that runs between Atlanta Highway at Interstate 985's Exit 17 and Phil Niekro Boulevard in Flowery Branch.

Oakwood City Council first addressed the moratorium in May, putting a hold on permits through mid-December. The council voted last week to extend the hold another month.

Brown said the roadway will feature landscaping, street lights and sidewalks.

He added that he envisions the city being able "to do an architectural review of any buildings that go in" the area.

"We'll probably have a list of material types, probably stone and brick as far as the front," Brown said. "We'll probably be addressing parking lots and setbacks."

The city will unveil plans through its planning commission, then later hold a public hearing before City Council by December or January, he said.

The moratorium doesn't affect review plans, just permits.
But with the economy stuck in neutral, nothing is happening in the way of development anyway.

Still, "what we didn't want to happen is somebody come in and start submitting plans and have an expectation that they are going to get a permit," Brown said.

The road's construction also has slowed downtown traffic with the closing of Oakwood Road between Thurmon Tanner and Main Street.

Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation's Gainesville office, said the road is scheduled to be reopened Oct. 31.

As for the rest of the project, "the contractor thinks they can meet the completion date, although they are currently behind schedule," Pope said.