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194-home West Hall subdivision off Lake Lanier approved
Gainesville engineer Brian Rochester talks to the Hall County Board of Commissioners Thursday night about a developer’s plans for a 194-home active-adult community off Lake Lanier in West Hall. - photo by Jeff Gill

A 194-home active-adult community off Lake Lanier in West Hall was approved Thursday night by the Hall County Board of Commissioners.

With the commission’s OK to rezone the 72 acres of mostly pasture to planned unit development from agricultural-residential, national homebuilder CalAtlantic Group can move forward with the gated subdivision.

Bill Schmidt, CalAtlantic’s vice president of land, said work could begin this summer on the subdivision, which is off Stephens and Flat Creek roads near Oakwood. Homes could start selling in spring 2019, he said.

The subdivision will feature ranch homes starting in the low $300,000 range. Amenities will include a clubhouse, swimming pool and tennis or pickleball courts.

Also, the property will have 14 docks for the residents to use.

“It’s a beautiful site,” Schmidt told commissioners. “We’re very excited about it.”

“It’s very similar to Cresswind (at Lake Lanier),” he added, referring to the active-adult community off Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville. “It’s a little bit smaller scale (than Cresswind), but the homes will be (comparable) in size.”

The development would have about 2.7 units per acre and a minimum lot size of 6,500 square feet. The minimum home size will be 1,600-1,800 square feet.

The builder would use Gainesville water and Oakwood sewer for the development, while most of the surrounding area relies on septic tanks, according to a report prepared for the Hall County Planning Board, which recommended approval.

Plans for the community drew praise Thursday from a couple of neighboring homeowners associations, which said they were able to work out any issues they had with CalAtlantic.

Flat Creek Road resident Pam Turk told commissioners she was concerned about traffic.

She said she especially was worried about the residential growth’s impact on Flat Creek Road at McEver Road and Stephens at McEver. McEver is a main traffic artery running through West Hall to Gainesville.

“Do you have any plans to upgrade those intersections?” Turk asked. “There are presently no turn (signals) or turn lanes there.”

The only response from commissioners came from Billy Powell, who said, “I can’t answer that right now.”

“Will traffic increase on the road? Absolutely,” said Gainesville engineer Brian Rochester, representing CalAtlantic, to the commission. “Will it be as detrimental as if this were a traditional neighborhood? Absolutely not.

“Because this is age-restricted, active adults tend to drive (during) off-peak hours. Roads have problems when you have more traffic during peak times. (Residents) won’t have to take anybody to school and they don’t want to get out and drive necessarily during rush hours.”

Regional events