The former sanctuary of Sharon Baptist Church — located at the intersection of Ga. Hwy. 211 and Ga. Hwy. 124 in Braselton — will be demolished to make way for a shopping center, according to plans submitted to the town.
But a cemetery located behind the sanctuary and still owned by the church will remain untouched.
Braselton Acquisitions and Development, LLC, is asking the town to annex approximately 3.39 acres that was once part of the church land. The Braselton-based company owns one tract of land that has a sanctuary (called tract A), while Sharon Baptist Church owns two additional tracts — the cemetery (called tract B) and another piece of property (called tract C).
Only tracts A and C are listed for sale and would be zoned general commercial — if annexed into Braselton, according to plans. The cemetery (tract B) will not be developed or disturbed.
Braselton Acquisitions and Development plans to build a 6,733-square-foot retail building where the church’s former sanctuary is now located, according to the company’s application. Its request includes few other details about potential development, other than construction will finish in spring 2013.
Sharon Baptist Church moved from the site in June 2011 — in the wake of the widening and realignment of Ga. Hwy. 124 and Ga. Hwy. 211, not far from the doors of its sanctuary.
In recent months, the Georgia Department of Transportation has been clearing land and moving utilities in preparation for the $5.2 million project at the busy intersection in Barrow County. The crossing also includes a Shell gas station and RaceTrac plans to open a store and gas station in the area.
The DOT estimates that the major overhaul of the intersection will be completed in April 2013.
Sharon Baptist Church is now located on Dee Kennedy Road, Auburn.
The Braselton Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the annexation and rezoning request on Monday, June 25, at 7 p.m. The Braselton Town Council will also hold a public hearing on the planning commission’s recommendation commission’s recommendation on Thursday, July 5, at 4 p.m. A council vote is expected on Monday, July 9, at 7 p.m.
Also on the agenda for the Braselton groups is a request to open a private school and worship center at the former Braselton Academy.
The Westbrook Centre, Inc., Winder, is asking for a conditional use permit to open the kindergarten through eighth grade private school, along with a place of worship on Lewis Braselton Blvd. in Jackson County.
That property was once part of Braselton Academy, a private day care that closed its facility in early 2011. Before that, the land was owned by the former Zion Baptist Church — which moved from the property in 2005.
Now, the 2.52-acre property is owned by Steve and Patricia Payne. The request calls for using the existing facilities on the property, which is zoned general commercial.
The Westbrook Centre has been operating its Westbrook Academy Prep School in the former Winder First Baptist Church, located in downtown Winder. It was previously located on Dee Kennedy Road in Auburn and before that in Gwinnett County. The church was founded almost 100 years ago on the spot of the former Atlanta Fulton County Stadium.
On its website, Westbrook is already advertising its move to Braselton — in the new alignment of Lewis Braselton Blvd. (previously called Zion Church Road).
Westbrook currently has 30 students at its Winder facility and expects 10 of those students to come to Braselton, according to its application. The private school will offer classes for kindergarten through middle school.
Westbrook is also joining with the owners of the property, Steve and Pat Payne, to offer Braselton Prep. The early education center will be open to children ages six weeks old to four years old.
Also, Westbrook Family Worship Centre plans to begin with 35 congregants at its Braselton facility, but anticipates growth. However, the Rev. John H. Head Jr., president of Westbook Centre, wrote in its application that the church doesn’t plan to become a mega church.