Hall County wants to attract economic growth, and officials believe that if they build sewer infrastructure through the county, it will come.
A lot of pipes and equipment are in South Hall County, but the northeastern part of the county is the next frontier.
“Sewer is one of the basic fundamental tenets of growth,” County Administrator Randy Knighton said. “You need to have sewer in order to develop any substantial residential. But most importantly, you need sewer for commercial and industrial development, which is extremely important from an economic development standpoint.”
South Hall is where most of the sewer infrastructure was installed. That area has seen a lot of residential growth, as well as on the lake side, but there’s been a lot of commercial growth, especially at Interstate 985 and Spout Springs Road, and along Ga. 347 in the southeastern part of the county, Knighton said.
The intersection of I-985 and Spout Springs Road saw an explosion of commercial development with the Village Shoppes of Flowery Branch, after neighborhoods such as Sterling on the Lake sprung up. Other commercial development there included Home Depot and Chick-fil-A.
South Hall sewer has about 2,100 customers, including the neighborhoods of Reunion and Village at Deaton Creek.
Despite the growth there, there’s still a lot of capacity for the infrastructure installed, including about 100,000 feet of force main (pressurized lines); more than 216,000 feet of gravity (nonpressurized) sewer; and nearly 16,500 feet of reuse (recycled nondrinking wastewater) main.
The South Hall Sewer District is commonly known as Mulberry Creek Phases I and II and the Spout Springs Water Reclamation Facility. The county can treat about 750,000 of wastewater per day.
There’s a lot of vacant property available for future development and sewer service near Ga. 211, Public Works Director Ken Rearden said. A 600-acre parcel sits next to one of the county’s pump stations, and has drawn several inquiries.
“We’re ready to serve it,” Rearden said.
The master plan, in a nutshell, for the Northeast Hall Sewer District is to use Lula’s wastewater treatment plant to supply the Gateway Industrial Centre on Ga. 365, Rearden said. The county would build the planned North Oconee Water Reclamation Facility, put in a package wastewater treatment plant along U.S. 129. The county then would have the developer of the Glades Farm property build the plant and dedicate it to the county near the planned 850-acre reservoir.
Knighton said more residential growth will happen in North Hall as the economy begins to turn around. The county recently approved an 83-acre site, with a 220-unit apartment complex and shopping center near Price and Thompson Bridge roads.
Two huge planned communities — Hagen Creek and Cane Creek — have been approved by Hall County and will need sewer infrastructure before construction. Putting in the sewer lines along the Ga. 365 corridor would open that area on both sides to economic development. The county anticipates those in the next five years, Knighton said.
“There are committed developments that have yet to come up out of the ground,” he said. “Those obviously will change the complexion of that North Hall corridor when they come online.”
Commissioner Scott Gibbs’ district includes portions of the Ga. 365 and U.S. 129. He hopes the planned infrastructure spurs development to increase the tax digest and thus lower taxes for residents.
“You have to have sewer to bring development,” Gibbs said. “Businesses won’t locate where there’s no municipal water and sewer.”
Gibbs said he’d like to see the county use both the Cedar Creek Reservoir and the planned Glades Reservoir to operate as a provider of both raw and treated water.