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Lula to get public input on new zoning ordinance

POSTED: April 26, 2013 1:42 a.m.

Buoyed by economic prospects, Lula is rolling out a new zoning ordinance — its first major rewrite since 1994 — that City Manager Dennis Bergin believes will “attract better development.”

“From a commercial, industrial and office perspective, we’re going to expect people to make investments,” he said.

“But then, we’re going to protect those investments by ensuring them that surrounding property development is going to mirror what they’re having to do.”

Officials believe Lula, which sits off busy Ga. 365 in northeastern Hall, could be the next frontier of Hall County growth, spurred by the Lula Water Reclamation Treatment Facility, which opened in 2011.

Lula’s wastewater treatment plant will serve the 518-acre Gateway Industrial Centre on Ga. 365, with Hall County installing about 5 miles of pipeline from a county-built pump station up Ga. 365 to Ga. 52, which leads into Lula.

Governmental zoning ordinances typically describe land uses throughout the community, breaking them down into categories such as agricultural, residential and commercial.

One of the major changes to Lula’s new 134-page ordinance, which is set for a May 13 public hearing, is that it calls for “sustainable growth design,” or a “performance district,” which addresses surrounding uses of property more than the current ordinance, Bergin said.

If, for example, developers want to put in a subdivision close to a retail establishment, “we would require them to create larger green spaces between the commercial and residential,” he said.

Among other things, performance zoning would reduce “the immediate impact on surrounding property by an increase in overall setbacks for the exterior of the development,” the ordinance states.

The end result could be “a measurable reduction” in street lengths, water and sewer infrastructure and maintenance of public properties, as well as “sustaining values to the tax digest and the community taxpayers.”

“It’s not a new (concept) and probably not as widely used in areas that have seen a lot of development,” Bergin said.

“But for Lula, we’re the second-largest land mass for a city in Hall County, so we’ve got a lot of areas that are still growing,” he said.

Lula Mayor Milton Turner said he believes the new ordinance is a “good thing, but I will say ... I’m used to the old ordinance — I can tell you what’s in that book, front to back cover.

“So, when you go making a change, I’m a little reluctant. It’s just a matter of me learning a new procedure.”

The Lula City Council has held its first reading of the ordinance, but a final vote may be a month or two away, possibly longer, Turner said.

First up, however, is the public hearing, which is set for 5:30 p.m. May 13 at Lula City Hall, 6055 Main St.


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