A Bojangles’ restaurant and truck stop off Ga. 365 near Lula got the Hall County Planning Commission’s OK Monday night.
“Personally, I think this is a good development,” Chairman Don Smallwood said. “I know that it’s going to be an expensive development, so you’re not going to go up there and put up some junk. It’ll be a first-class development.”
The planning board voted to recommend approval of Gainesville-based Hornet Development’s request to rezone nearly 16 acres at Lula Road/Ga. 52 and Ga. 365 for the development.
The matter now goes to the Hall County Board of Commissioners for final action at a public hearing set for Oct. 27.
Hornet Development wants to rebuild and expand a travel center at the site and add two restaurants, including the 4,000-square-foot fast-food chicken eatery.
The project also would include a truck fueling center and 44,500 square feet in retail space.
Development on the property would “be market-driven,” project engineer Jimmy Garrison told the planning board.
Lula City Manager Dennis Bergin spoke in opposition to the proposal.
“The application identifies septic as usage on the property, but yet we’ve been notified by Hall County government that they intend to extend sewer lines 2.5 miles to service this property,” he said.
Lula operates its own sewer system in the area.
“Our No. 1 concern is whether or not … the (developer) is going to participate in the cost of the sewer extension,” said Bergin, who was joined at the meeting by Lula Mayor Milton Turner and part of the City Council.
Planning board member Chris Braswell told the Lula officials, “I think our hands are tied as far as the sewer. We can’t direct them one way or another on that.”
Then, in a nod to the Board of Commissioners, he added, “You’ll have to come back to the other people who sit in these chairs.”
Bobby Miller, who lives near the property, also opposed the rezoning.
“The 365 area has not been contaminated yet with a lot of stuff,” he said. “We need high-quality business, high-quality things to come in there.
“This is kind of the first thing there at that intersection, and we’re putting in a truck stop, so that’s going to dictate the surrounding development.”
The possibility of even more development is hinted at in a Hall planning staff report.
“The applicant proposes access to the adjacent property to the northeast to provide connection in the event of future development of the neighboring parcel,” the report says.
The county’s comprehensive plan “identifies the area around the intersection … as a regional retail node,” the staff report says.
The regional commercial zone could have up to 1 million square feet of buildings and sites covering 100-plus acres.