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Developer of subdivision asks to drop townhomes
Public hearing will be at 6 tonight
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Flowery Branch City Council public hearing

What: Public hearing on developer's request to change plans for part of Sterling on the Lake subdivision
When: 6 tonight
Where: City Hall, 5517 Main St.
Contacts: 770-967-6371

Single-family homes may replace planned townhomes in a 30-acre section of one of Hall County's largest subdivisions, Sterling on the Lake in Flowery Branch.

The developer, Newland Communities, is asking Flowery Branch City Council to change conditions in its "planned unit development" zoning to allow for the change, as well as adding a 4 1/2-acre park.

By making the residential switch, the developer would "be going to a product that meets the current market demand," said Patrick Clark, a Newland Communities vice president and general manager.

"In conjunction with that, we saw that we had an opportunity to address improving or enhancing the overall arrival experience at Sterling by creating (the park)."

The city is holding a public hearing on the matter at 6 tonight at Flowery Branch City Hall, 5517 Main St.

Currently, the 30-acre section features a plan for 98 townhomes and 93 single-family homes off Lake Sterling Boulevard or near the 1,000-acre subdivision's main entrance off Spout Springs Road.

The vacant area served as a crowded parking area during Sterling's July 4th fireworks show last year.

Newland is seeking to retool the section's design to feature 122 single-family homes, or 69 fewer housing units, each at least 1,400-1,500 square feet in size.

"The applicant is proposing to develop this area in four phases and, as a result, will be demolishing a portion of the existing roadway network," according to the city's planning and zoning staff report.

The park, once completed, will connect to the central amenity area, which features a clubhouse and the Village Green, where concerts and other events are held, Clark said.

It also would serve as a pedestrian pass-through between the amenity area and the Hall County Library System's Spout Springs branch near the subdivision entrance.

Plans call for "a park setting, with trails, benches, swings and play fields," Clark said. "It (would be) a great enhancement and consistent with the long-range vision that Sterling has."

Sterling has met with residents on four occasions to discuss the proposal.

A meeting last week drew about 150 residents. "We fielded great questions, and overall, I think people were very excited about the park and ... eliminating the townhomes," Clark said.

City Council will consider giving its first OK to the proposed changes at tonight's meeting.

If Newland gets final approval, it would have to build the park within 120 days, according to the planning report.