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Why developer is pulling plans for Lakeshore Drive property
A retail, restaurant and office complex was proposed at the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville, but the developer has withdrawn the application. - photo by Megan Reed

The developer for a potential commercial development at Dawsonville Highway and Lakeshore Drive has asked to withdraw its application to the city of Gainesville.

The Gainesville City Council had previously been scheduled to vote on the proposal on Tuesday, Aug. 7, but the council will now vote to approve withdrawal of the application. There will be no public hearing about the property at Tuesday’s meeting.

According to Planning Manager Matt Tate, in light of emails sent by residents to City Council expressing their opposition, the applicant did not feel the outcome would have been positive at this time.

The 2.74-acre property, the current site for the Gainesville Masonic Lodge, would have been home to a 10,000-square-foot building with retail and restaurants, as well as a 3,500-square-foot quick service restaurant with a drive-thru. A Firestone tire store had also been proposed for the site, which is across the street from Lakeshore Mall.

Ron Farmer, president of the Masonic Lodge, said at a July 10 planning and appeals board meeting that the Masonic Lodge was planning to relocate, and the group was in favor of the rezoning from residential to general business. The current facility was built in 1962 and the group no longer needs that space, he said.

However, some residents of the Lakeshore Heights subdivision expressed concerns about traffic and safety at the July 10 meeting. Drive-thru restaurants create a high volume of traffic, sometimes at late hours, and the Dawsonville Highway area already has a traffic problem, they said.

Rock Baker of REB Land Development LLC, the applicant for the proposal, said at the meeting that the property would be mindfully developed to address concerns.

The Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board had recommended approval of the proposal.