A Bojangles’ restaurant and truck stop off Ga. 365 near Lula got the Hall County Board of Commissioners OK on Thursday night.
“Good luck,” Commissioner Billy Powell told the project applicants. “I can’t wait to see it.”
The commission voted to approve rezoning allowing for the development on 16 acres at Lula Road/Ga. 52 and Ga. 365.
Plans call for rebuilding and expanding a travel center at the site and adding two restaurants, including the 4,000-square-foot Bojangles’ fast-food chicken eatery.
The project also would include a truck fueling center and 44,500 square feet in retail space.
“We will build a first-class development here — one that you will all be proud of, not only from the physical standpoint but an operational standpoint,” said Tom Bower, president and CEO of Clipper Petroleum, which is developing the project.
“We will commit the resources, and I think you guys will be very pleased with what we do.”
Lula City Manager Dennis Bergin spoke in opposition to the project.
“Our concern relates primarily to the investments (the city) has made to provide wastewater management in that area, and you’re very familiar with that due to our contracts and our service delivery agreements,” he told commissioners.
Friction between Lula and Hall County over sewer – and who should serve the Ga. 365 area -- goes back years.
A 2004 map showing areas countywide where various governments can provide sewer depicts both Hall County and Lula serving an area between Ga. 52 and the Habersham County line.
Only a couple of short stretches, including one just south of Belton Bridge Road, are exclusively in Lula’s district.
The area is a potential gold mine for development, with the county’s comprehensive plan identifying the area around the Ga. 365-Ga. 52 intersection as a “regional retail node,” a Hall County planning report states.
The regional commercial zone could have up to 1 million square feet of buildings and sites covering 100-plus acres.
Bergin told commissioners Lula has a sewer line that’s within 3,300 feet of the Clipper site, and “we understand the county has expressed an interest in placing 2 ½ miles of additional sewer to reach that same location.”
“Good government would suggest that the opportunity (for sewer) is there and the city is willing and able to provide the capacity,” he said.
Commissioners didn’t talk about the issue at the meeting, but the county is looking to extend sewer into northeast Hall County.
“Whoever gets the pipe there first, it’s theirs,” Commissioner Scott Gibbs earlier said about the joint sewer district. “And that’s what we’re intending on doing.”
Bower did ask the commission about the county’s sewer project.
“Is there any timetable for when that may occur?” he asked.
“We can probably talk about that after the meeting,” commission Chairman Richard Mecum said.