Collis Road to be widened to accommodate traffic
In a called meeting last Thursday, Putnam County Commissioners agreed to reconstruct Collis Road, making way for the development of a luxury hotel.
The BOC voted unanimously, with no representation for the 4th district, after negotiating with developer Josh Sprayberry over timing concerns.
After Chairman Billy Webster opened the meeting, County Attorney Adam Nelson explained the scope of the agreement noting that “as a result of [the developers’] dedication and their commitment to moving on a development that is consistent with what appears to be submitted to your P&Z, in exchange for that, the Board of Commissioners will improve Collis Road.”
District 3 Commissioner Bill Sharp, who represents the project area, said his concern is the 200 people who live there now.
“I want to see them be able to get in and out during construction,” Sharp said. “I know we are forming an agreement here, but we have 200 people there who need the best road possible.”
Nelson said that, once the developer begins their development, the county will move forward with acquisitions of all its necessary rights-of-way to widen Collis Road and would keep it passable throughout the construction process, not just for the developer but for residents in the area who use it for egress and ingress.
“The road improvements themselves would not take place until all heavy equipment operations are completed,” Nelson said. “The intention there is to avoid causing damage to a road newly constructed.”
Requesting county officials to speed up their process to have the road built, Sprayberry made note of the importance of having the roadway completed for everyone to access the grand opening.
“It’s going to be a high-profile project for the county in general, and we want to have a ribbon and bow on it the first day with VIPs and guests at the grand opening, and related stakeholders,” Sprayberry said. “We just don’t want to be driving over freshly poured pavement that first day. You’re still getting all the rocks and gravels loose that first day.”
District 2 Commissioner Daniel Brown said, “You know gentlemen, through this whole thing, and watching it from start to finish, y’all are always trying to micromanage us down to the finest detail, but what I do know is that things happen. There is no doubt that if you go through with your plans and you start building and get everything run by Lisa [Jackson, Planning & Development Director] and get it started, these county commissioners, we’re behind you one hundred percent.”
Sprayberry noted that another project he began in Putnam County two years ago – the development of a high-end marina on the former Jerry’s Bait & Tackle site – just broke ground two weeks ago.
“So we’ve had some extreme delays, and experience is a wise teacher,” Sprayberry said. “That cost us literally $75,000 in legal bills.”
That development was initially met with opposition, during which time county officials were sued by residents in the area for failing to properly advertise public hearings for the rezoning meeting.
Sprayberry said the planning and development office has also been more stringent on their recommendations for him compared to other developers.
“If we were to go through multifamily zoning projects for this county, none of them had to turn in the renderings we’ve had to have,” he said. “So if the standard is going to be higher for us, then we’re going to ask for a higher standard from the county so that we both know we have the same commitment.”
Webster noted that the county would know when the final large equipment would be delivered to the site and did not think they would need 180 days, but that time gives the board “a little bit of leeway.”
Nelson noted the Collis Road project will probably cost less than $200,000. According to the agreement, the county agrees to fund and to perform improvements adhering to the following minimum standards: the system improvements shall be designed and constructed such that the paved roadway width shall be a minimum of 24 feet wide. The width of the right-of-way shall be a total of 50 feet, 25 feet as measured from the centerline of the existing roadway.
The agreement states also that the construction method will consist of reclamation of the existing asphalt pavement, compacting the reclaimed materials and resurfacing the roadway.
The road reconstruction includes approximately 3,000 feet of roadway from Wards Chapel Road to the proposed entrance to the hotel. The turning radius of the intersection of Wards Chapel at Collis Road will also be widened.