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Commissioners buck planners, approve community for disabled adults
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Ken Torbett, left, and his partner, Karen Pruett, both residents on Bogus Road, speak against rezoning of Bogus Road for the construction of Adventures in Missions development during a Hall County commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

Adventures in Missions will be building a community for disabled adults in North Hall after the development was unanimously approved by the Hall County Board of Commissioners Thursday, a departure from the planning commission’s unanimous denial of the proposal earlier this month.

Seth Barnes Jr. of Adventures in Missions said that since the planning commission meeting, Adventures in Missions has gone door-to-door and reached out to the community to talk about the project, which has been named the Flourish Community. Families with special needs children said they saw a need for a community for disabled adults, he said.

“It’s the community stepping up that made the difference,” Barnes said after the project was approved. “…Hall County is such a great place with a lot of people who care deeply about people with disabilities, and I think it’s due to them that we were able to get this passed.”

The property on Bogus Road in North Hall is next to Adventures in Missions’ current offices. The community will eventually house up to 48 disabled adults who will live with full-time care families in four homes. Adventures in Missions recruited several local families who supported the project to attend Thursday’s meeting and voice their support.

Homes would be added gradually, with one being built about every 12 to 18 months, Barnes said.

However, several residents in the Bogus Road area said they were worried that the development, which they said would be relatively high density for the area, would threaten the rural character of North Hall.

Karen Pruett and Ken Torbett said they are not opposed to the idea for the community, but they do not think Bogus Road is the right spot, a sentiment agreed upon by their neighbors who also spoke Thursday.

“We picked Bogus Road because it is a country road. … (This project) is a change of character to the rural neighborhood,” Torbett said.

Torbett and other residents said they were also worried about traffic that could come with the development. Bryan Jackson said Bogus Road already has blind spots and can be unsafe. Construction vehicles will just make that problem worse, he said.

Barnes said because the residents of the Flourish Community will not be driving, traffic will be relatively limited. Because the community will expand gradually, with homes being built in stages and residents moving in one at a time, any change would not happen overnight, he said.

The next steps for Adventures in Missions are fundraising for the project and starting construction, which Barnes said he expects to begin next summer or fall.

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