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Rezoning request withdrawn for store near intersection: Construction of roundabout in area to begin in 2024

An aerial view of GA HWY 37 and HWY 76 intersection located near Cook High School. The corner of Hwy 37 and Living Way Rd. is highlighted in red as the location of the rezone request.

The roundabout will be located at the Highway 37/76 “Y” intersection east of Adel.

County officials confirmed that the rezoning request was withdrawn shortly before the deadline of noon Friday, March 3, 2023, for a convenience store on property near the Highway 37/76 intersection east of Adel.

Thus, the public hearing before the County Commissioners scheduled for Monday night, March 6, was cancelled because no decision was to be made. 

However, the property owner may resubmit the rezoning request application at any time.

If the rezoning request had been heard by the County Commissioners and denied, the property owner would have been required to wait a year until resubmitting the request, according to county ordinances. 

Several residents opposed to the rezoning were in the process of getting signatures on a petition to express their opposition. Also, many residents in opposition planned to attend the public hearing (now cancelled) on Monday night, March 6.

On Thursday, Feb. 23, the Greater Cook Planning Advisory Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the rezoning request for a convenience store with gas pump islands on property near the Highway 37/76 intersection. 

The 9.82 acres of property adjoins Living Way Road. Located at Map#0049, Parcel#039A, the property is owned by Janmanglam Patel of Valdosta. 

The request was to rezone the property from Agriculture (AU) to General Business (GB).

One of the big questions about the rezoning would be what impact it would have on a Georgia Department of Transportation plan to construct a roundabout at what is now the Highway 37/Highway 76 “Y” intersection east of Adel. 

Cook High School and school athletic facilities and the Adel-Cook Sports Complex are located farther east of the property that was being considered for rezoning. 

The roundabout is intended to help make traffic flow safer through the intersection. 

On Monday night, DOT District Engineer Scott Chambers and District Pre-Construction Engineer Jason Willingham gave the County Commissioners an update on the 37/76 roundabout project. DOT Board Member Tim Golden and State Rep. Penny Houston have contacted DOT officials to seek new information on the project.

Chambers noted that a commercial business application had been made for that area through the Environmental Division. 

Chambers said the original design for the roundabout had been changed from “mini” or “compact” and the planned roadway expanded to accommodate large trucks and farm equipment.

Engineers are working on the design for the roundabout. They will determine what right of way will be needed for the project and what parcels of property might have to be acquired. 

Rep. Houston has contacted the DOT Commissioner, who has asked the district DOT office to speed up the process of starting the project than what it would be normally.

Willingham said the DOT is nearing the end of the concept phase for the roundabout and will be doing preliminary engineering next and developing the right of way plans.

He anticipates that the DOT will be able to buy additional needed right of way late this year or early next year. The earliest date of construction to start for the roundabout would be the end of summer in 2024.

Willingham noted that the DOT has to follow federal policies and an environmental regulations process. Both Highways 37 and 76 are designated as oversize, overweight truck roads, and the DOT has to give out annual permits to drivers so they can haul those loads.

The DOT officials provided a preliminary layout of the roundabout to the County Commissioners for their review. The contractor will have to relocate Highways 37 and 76 and Living Way Road at new angles in that area to meet the design criteria for the roundabout. The westernmost limits of the project go past Robert Day Road. 

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