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Hall Planning Commission approves development on Ga. 365

POSTED: December 2, 2013 9:14 p.m.

The Hall County Planning Commission approved a large planned development Monday for the Ga. 365 corridor that concerned the panel last month.

Barker Street LLC is pushing for 476 acres in East Hall to get rezoned so it can build Gateway Village across the street from an industrial park under development. It’s a proposed mixed-use community, with commercial office space, single-family homes, townhouses and an apartment complex.

The item was tabled in November, but Barker Street LLC President Patrick Clark answered previous worries of the commission about the density of apartment units and the limited road access to homes.

The village has a unique feature, which has been praised, but has also caused some infrastructure complications.

It’s proposed about 119 acres of open space, including an extensive trail system, parks and other recreational offerings.

However, that means road networks inside the residential subdivision in the southern part of the community are limited and access to the neighborhood is only through a large arterial road over the Oconee River.

Clark said he has worked with Hall County’s engineering department about possibly developing the main road to withstand a 500-year flood event.

The developers also plan to talk to adjacent property owners to try to get an easement for emergency vehicles to access that area.

Commissioner Chris Braswell said that relieved the concern that homeowners would be trapped if a disaster happened.

The commission insisted on keeping a condition that the subdivision include more road connectivity, which was recommended by staff. The developers are asking that the condition be removed.

The proposal calls for 572,000 square feet of retail and commercial development that would mostly front Ga. 365, plus a 280-unit apartment complex, 30 townhouses and 186 homes.

Clark said the project would be a critical complement to the Gateway Industrial Centre because it would add restaurants, stores and housing convenient for future workers there.

Hall County signed an agreement earlier this year with the city of Gainesville to provide sewer to the 500-acre industrial park on the other side of 365.

County officials said Monday they’re considering building a sewer pump station inside the development, which would eliminate the need for a wastewater treatment plant on the Oconee River.

The commission voted 3-1 to approve the project, with Commissioner Bo Brooks voting against and Commissioner Craig Heighton absent.

Adjacent property owners John and Lee Hemmer spoke in opposition to the apartment complex, saying it was too dense for the area. The land has remained in their family for 200 years, and they run a cattle farm.

“This isn’t South Forsyth County, this is East Hall,” Lee Hemmer said. “We don’t feel like 300 apartments is appropriate, especially right now since there’s nothing up there.”

The density is 7.9 apartment units per acre, less than the approved Riverbrook Village apartment complex in North Hall, which was 10 units per acre.

Brooks said he disagreed with the number of apartment units. He also voted against the units in the planned Riverbrook complex.

“The apartments are just too aggressive, the density‘s just too aggressive,” he said.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on the issue at its Dec. 12 meeting.


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