The Shoppes at Ola Crossroads grocery store approved by the board

The historic site of a former general store will be developed into a modern day grocery store. (Henry County photo)

A new grocery store will soon build along state route 81 in the Ola area after receiving approval this week from the board of commissioners. Additional uses planned for the 103.5 acre property, located east of North Ola Road, include commercial outparcels and a residential subdivision with 104 lots.

The developer, JWA Ventures II of Montgomery, AL, did not name the planned grocer but shared they are the largest employee-owned company in the country. According to the National Center for Employee Ownership, Publix Super Markets holds that distinction.

The BOC voted unanimously to rezone the property from RA (residential agricultural) and C-1 (neighborhood commercial) to MU (mixed use) with several conditions. Many of the conditions had been previously recommended by either planning staff or the zoning advisory board, and Commissioner Gary Barham added a few additional items in his motion to approve the request.

The zoning conditions for the property include the following:

  • Commercial uses shall be limited to those uses permitted under the C-1 (neighborhood commercial) and C-2 (general commercial) zoning districts, excluding uses permitted only within C-3 (highway commercial).
  • Minimum single-family residential lot sizes shall meet R-2 on sewer zoning district requirements (22,000 square foot lots) where sewer is available. Minimum lot sizes shall meet R-2 zoning requirements (30,000 square foot lots) where septic tanks are necessary.
  • Minimum residential home sizes shall be 2,400 square feet in heated floor area with side entry garages.
  • The owner and developer shall preserve right of way along highway 81 to allow for a future widening to four lanes.
  • Entrances shall be constructed to meet minimum spacing and sight distance requirements per the road’s posted speed limit. Acceleration and deacceleration lanes shall be constructed to meet Georgia DOT and HCDOT standards.
  • The development shall be constructed in substantial compliance with land use designations on the project’s site plan.
  • The development shall be limited to 104 dwelling units.
  • All disturbed areas within residential lots shall be sodded.
  • The owner / developer shall preserve thirty feet of property along the eastern property boundary where used for commercial purposes for connections / extensions of Keys Ferry Road if the construction is within five years of the rezoning approval.
  • The developer shall contribute $20,000 towards the realignment of South Ola Road, subject to the county entering into a construction contract for the transportation project within two years of the rezoning approval.

Additional conditions found within the highway corridor overlay will also be applied to the project. The overlay regulates building materials, landscaping, pedestrian paths, and ground-based signage for new development along major roadways within unincorporated Henry County.

Approximately nine acres is set aside for commercial outparcels along highway 81. The developer is actively marketing the project on their website and did not share if other businesses had expressed interest in the development to date.

The planned subdivision will meet R-2 on sewer zoning district requirements with half-acre lots, except for a small portion of the property that must utilize septic tanks. Twelve lots in that area will meet R-2 requirements with 30,000 square foot lots. The subdivision’s net density equals 1.5 units per acre, lower than the existing Tapestry Park subdivision or recently approved North Ola Henry 163 subdivision.

Because of the property’s mixed use designation on the future land use map, the applicant could have applied for up to sixteen dwelling units per acre. The property could have been developed into apartments or townhomes under that scenario. Instead, the half-acre lots presented by the applicant and approved by the board will maintain consistency with North Ola Road’s low density residential designation on the FLUM.

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Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of Moving Henry Forward Community News. The website provides local news coverage in Henry County, Georgia.