When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Fair Street Neighborhood Center, 715 Fair St., Gainesville
Hosted by: Oak Hall, developer, seeking questions, concerns of residents about preliminary plans for mixed-use development along Ahaluna Drive
A large, upscale subdivision proposed along Ahaluna Drive in Gainesville is now in the hands of a new developer, something homeowners in the area warned would happen two years ago.
And now they’re gearing up for the prospect of another fight.
According to city planning officials, Oak Hall Companies has purchased the property from West Ahaluna LLC, a local developer with ties to America’s Home Place, and there are preliminary plans to submit an annexation and rezoning application for about 205 wooded acres near Dawsonville Highway along the shores of Lake Lanier. The plans call for a mix of residential and commercial development.
In late 2014, the Gainesville City Council approved a 199-lot subdivision at the Ahaluna Drive site after concessions were made to area residents opposed to the size of the development.
Several conditions, including a reduction in the number of homes to be built and additional environmental controls, were made to residents of the Ahaluna Heights and Lakeshore Heights neighborhoods.
The development was proposed for build-out in three phases over 15 years.
But the new owner is changing those plans.
“The proposal is to include a mixed-use development consisting of an age-restricted community (single-family homes, attached homes, attached independent living and assisted living),” Gainesville Planning Manager Matt Tate told The Times in an email. “There will also be a commercial component fronting a portion of Dawsonville Highway. I am expecting to receive the final application within two to four weeks.”
And so the old concerns about density, traffic congestion, property value loss, quality of life and environmental impacts have re-emerged.
“From my side, the devil is in the details,” said Gene Korzeniewski, a resident who lives at the entrance of Watauga Drive off Ahaluna and one of the neighborhood leaders opposing the scale of the project from the outset. “But based on the information already available, the new proposal is quite a shift from the ‘upscale’ residential community originally proposed.”
Attorneys for Oak Hall are hosting a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Fair Street Neighborhood Center, 715 Fair St. in Gainesville, to allow residents to ask questions and voice concerns about the latest project plans.
Pat Horgan, a resident of Lakeshore Heights, said any new plans must be balanced with protecting Lake Lanier.
“It still does not seem physically possible to do the massive amount of construction proposed earlier without substantial siltation entering the lake,” Horgan said. “I would think that now … the city might want to carefully review the new plans and rethink the scale of this development, how it will be protected and monitored, and its probable inevitable impact on the lake.”