The Hall County Board of Commissioners will vote tonight on several rezoning requests that, if approved, would expand business in South Hall and add a new subdivision off Buffington Farm Road.
Meanwhile, a proposed 50-lot subdivision on Conner Road in South Hall has been tabled at the request of the developer.
Planning officials want to require the developer to pay for all road widening and right of way access costs to improve Conner Road, which residents said cannot accommodate two-way traffic.
Residents along Conner Road said the development would make traffic too dangerous along the narrow street.
This can be an extremely costly endeavor, however, and appears to be the hang-up, according to county officials.
BUFORD CORN MAZE
The Buford Corn Maze in South Hall County draws as many as 10,000 people a day during its busiest three fall weekends, and the county planning board has given its OK to a proposal to expand operations.
But county officials would still like corn maze owners to pursue a planned commercial district zoning, rather than an agri-entertainment zoning.
The PCD zoning would allow the corn maze to expand its sales to include a farmers market, as well as the possibility of developing a music venue.
But it would also be more expensive, since it would require a business license and implement additional regulations, and owners have balked at this suggestion thus far.
In addition to a corn maze, the business at 4470 Bennett Road offers hayrides, a children’s play area, farm animals, a “haunted forest” attraction, and food and pumpkin sales on 33 acres.
The maze’s season runs from Labor Day weekend to mid-November. County documents show the business wants to operate one additional weekend per month.
Expansion plans also include a 75-car parking lot inside the property, 100-car lot along Bennett Road and 150-car lot along Friendship Road.
Traffic was a major concern of a few residents who opposed any expansion of activities at the corn maze.
No access is planned off Friendship Road, which is under heavy construction as the Georgia Department of Transportation completes widening Ga. 347 from Interstate 985 to Old Winder Highway/Ga. 211. The road project’s completion date is June 30.
Planning officials are prohibiting parking on Bennett Road right of ways, and will require that security detail work during busy fall weekends to help control and direct traffic from the site.
“I’m sure there will be a big turnout for this one,” Commissioner Scott Gibbs said.
BUFFINGTON FARM ROAD
A 166-lot subdivision on Buffington Farm Road in North Hall has been tabled twice as planning officials directed developers and residents to make compromises.
That appears to be what happened after representatives from Green Implementation Group of Johns Creek won support for its 109-acre development after reducing the number of homes to 150, including removing lots that back up to Buffington Farm Road.
But county officials have said they might be OK with higher density if the developers agree to connect to county sewer infrastructure. Plans currently include a private system for the subdivision.
“They sound great until there’s a problem,” Gibbs said, adding that the county is likely to get stuck with its costs one day when problems arise. “We’re in the sewer business.”
The development would be about three miles from the Gateway Industrial Centre and would have a similar lot size as Gateway Village, a proposed development on the opposite side of Ga. 365.
More than 40 percent of the total land would remain open space with “pocket parks” and walking trails, according to proposals.