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Residents: Martin Road plans still too much

Oakwood reduces number of homes allowed

POSTED: December 11, 2007 7:19 a.m.

Fewer homes didn’t make these residents happy.

Oakwood City Council unanimously voted Monday night to allow eight, not 10, homes per acre on roughly 56 acres on Martin Road. But nearby residents, many of whom live outside of the city, still complained the mixed-use development would increase traffic congestion, further overcrowd schools, reduce their property values and increase crime.

"To put that kind of development in our community is really detrimental," said Joe Bajjani, president of the Quailwood
Homeowners’ Association.

Many attendees wanted to complain about Oakwood’s plans to run sewer lines through their property in Martin’s Crossing West. The lines would serve the 123 acres at Martin Road and Falcon Parkway. But the council’s agenda didn’t allow for talk about sewer plans.

Monday’s action leaves most of the development zoned for planned residential and commercial development, with a maximum of eight units per acre. The remaining 67 acres, also zoned for planned residential and commercial development, could have a maximum of 10 units per acre, according to an owner of the property.

The council also unanimously approved annexing land buffering two of the four properties that make up the Martin Road development. The Hall County Commission stipulated the annexation as part of its decision to drop a lawsuit against Oakwood and Martin Road Investments LLC.

Oakwood annexed the Martin Road property on July 16. But the county said the annexation created an island of unannexed land, which is prohibited by Georgia law.

Bajjani said that although city officials said they have yet to see the developer reveal site specific plans for the area, he does not believe the city does not have an idea of what type of residential development will be constructed.

"What we’re not buying is that there’s no plan," Bajjani said.

Martin Road Investments LLC currently owns the 123-acre property at Martin Road and Falcon Parkway.

"There will be no low-income housing built on the property," said Sam McGee, one of the four partners in Martin Road Investments.

"There will be townhomes ... and I don’t know if there will be apartments," McGee said. "This is not a done deal. In fact, we haven’t even sold it. We had (the property) sold until the county sued us."

After the meeting, Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs dismissed residents’ fears of dense residential housing being built on the Martin Road property.

"There’s no way to put that number of units in there," Scroggs said in response to residents’ comments on the notion of the development supporting upwards of 400 townhomes.

Scroggs said that with the residential area’s inclusion of green space, streets and setbacks, eight units per acre is the absolute maximum density of units that could be built on the 56-acre portion of the property. He added that the property has a gully running through part of it, which would prohibit construction in some of its areas.

Scroggs said that a plan for the site has yet to be submitted to the city, but once plans are submitted, a public hearing will be held for residents to review it with the Oakwood City Council.



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