Being recent additions to Flowery Branch themselves, Doris and Gary McClung said at a public meeting they don’t take issue with new people coming in.
What concerns them is “bringing in way too many people way too fast” without looking at the impacts on the infrastructure.
“We don’t mind new people coming in. We want it to be well planned and thought out. What’s the impact to the schools? What’s the impact to the roads? What’s the impact to the shopping?” Doris McClung asked.
The McClungs joined several other residents at a public discussion 6 p.m. Wednesday at Flowery Branch City Hall.
Woodfield Development is looking to build 334 apartments at 4496 Hog Mountain Road, next to Flowery Branch High School.
The project comes just months after a 520-unit apartment complex off Hog Mountain and Spout Springs roads was rejected by the Flowery Branch City Council.
“Hog Mountain (Road) cannot handle another 500 cars,” said Gary McClung, extrapolating out an average of 1.5 cars per unit at the 334-unit development.
Woodfield development partner Patrick Kassin said the roadwork developments, particularly Exit 14 of Interstate 985, will redistribute traffic in the area.
From the people he has listened to regarding traffic studies, Kassin said he believes “traffic on Spout Springs and Hog Mountain (roads) will reduce by up to 50 percent”
“If we didn’t understand that traffic problem, we would probably not be interested in this site,” Kassin said.
Hall County already has a SPLOST VII — special-purpose local-option sales tax — project regarding improvements on Hog Mountain and Cash roads which will be separate from what is being proposed by these developers.
Woodfield is proposing several amenities in the apartment complex, including a clubhouse with business center, lounge and event kitchen, swimming pool, outdoor dining area, walking trails, and a tennis court or basketball court, according to city documents.
Also proposed is 20,000 square feet of commercial space facing Hog Mountain Road, including 10,000 square feet for a restaurant.
The 32.6-acre project expects to build out by November 2022.
City Manager Bill Andrew said a number of communities are looking at having “activity centers” or “power centers” near apartment complexes, where residents wanting to be near quality shops and dining options protect the value of both industries.
“You kind of get these developments that depend on each other and support each other,” Andrew said.
One person proposed the possibility to Kassin of making some of the development into condominium/flats. He had a concern about seeing the “school start to change, the climate start to change” with a “transient population” moving in instead of a more invested population that would retire into a condominium.
Kassin said that was “not a path for us.”
The proposal is “the most appropriate use of the site,” said Kenneth J. Wood, engineer on the project, in a letter to the city.
“In addition to maintaining the intent of the character area, it provides new multi-family housing that is consistent with existing context and is located near a major thoroughfare. Additionally, the new housing will be located close to existing and proposed retail and commercial businesses—many of which would be within walking distance of the site.”
The proposal is set to go before the Flowery Branch City Council on Aug. 15.
Reporter Jeff Gill contributed to this report.