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Hagen Creek community may get new neighbors

Proposed development could bring 7,965 jobs

POSTED: November 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.

North Hall could see another mega development built alongside the future Hagen Creek, the planned community approved by Hall County in January.

The development, called Cane Creek, would be a commercial and residential development sitting next to Hagen Creek near Lula.

The Cane Creek proposal was approved by the Hall County planning board at a meeting this week. The Hall County Board of Commissioners will decide whether to approve the Cane Creek Development at its Dec. 11 board meeting.

"This is a project that is sort of complementary," said John Vardeman of Morton Vardeman & Carlson, who is handling the publicity for development. "Hagen Creek is more residential focus, where as Cane Creek is more retail, commercial focus."

The developments have separate owners, but they are from the same Austrian family that has been harvesting timber on thousands of acres in the area since 1979.

The Cane Creek community is proposed on 1,135 acres along Ga. 365 and Ga. 52. Construction of the project would take place in phases over approximately 10 to 15 years, Vardeman said.

Plans for Cane Creek include residential space, retail and office space and even land for a college campus. The proposed commercial space could create an estimated 7,965 jobs when fully built out.

Though the development would be primarily commercial, it would feature 2,054 homes — a mixture of estate homes, townhouses, lofts and moderately priced homes.

The family members decided to develop their land after property taxes became too high to support their timber business, Vardeman said.

Because the land is already paid for, there is no pressure to develop it, which will allow the community to be planned in an integrated fashion to be a "true community," Vardeman said.

The site planned for Cane Creek is near Lake Lanier, and Vardeman said some of the homes could have views of the lake, but there are no plans for lake-front units with docks.

Hall County Planning Director Randy Knighton said Cane Creek would be very similar to the previously approved Hagen Creek.

Plans for Hagen Creek call for a 2,736-home subdivision on 1,075 acres east of Ga. 52 and north of Ga. 365 along Belton Bridge Road. The proposed community would include not only homes, but commercial space, a school and a golf course.

"(Cane Creek) is fairly comparable in size and the amount of expected development as well. It’s a big one," Knighton said.

Knighton said the county was aware this second development was in the works, but despite their similarities, there are differences between the two.

"This is a separate piece," Knighton said. "Originally they did talk about this next phase coming through toward the end of the year, so it was expected."

In planning for future growth in the area, the city of Lula has secured a $4 million loan to build a sewer plant to provide service to the area, though the proposed developments would not be within the city limits.

Vardeman said there are no other master planned communities like the proposed Hagen Creek and Cane Creek developments in the state of Georgia.



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