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Gainesville homeowners raise concerns over townhomes project
A zoning notice informs of a proposal to build 65 townhomes on almost 22 acres fronting Pearce Way and Smoky Mountain Springs Lane in Gainesville. - photo by Carlos Galarza

A spokesman for homeowners at The Woodlands on Lake Brenau said Wednesday that property owners will regroup after failing this week to slow down a project to build 65 townhomes near them.

Ron Cosgrove told The Times that homeowners only learned in the past two weeks of plans by JH Homes Inc. of Buford to build the townhomes on South Enota Drive in northeast Gainesville.

After hearing from the developer and homeowners at a meeting Tuesday, the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board unanimously recommended approval of rezoning almost 22 acres at the project site from office and institutional to residential to make way for the townhomes.

The proposal requires final approval by Gainesville City Council. It is scheduled for a vote Sept. 19.

“We were disappointed by the planning board’s action,” Cosgrove said Wednesday. “We weren’t asking too much of them to table the request so we could have time to research and present more data. We felt this whole thing came about very quickly.”

Cosgrove said homeowners had discussed looking into placing the subdivision in the National Register of Historic Places because of the variety of wildlife in the area. He said neighbors have seen black bears, deer and hawks.

Homeowners fear that the wildlife they enjoy so much will go away when work begins on building the townhomes, Cosgrove said.

Homeowner Nicole Graff told planning board members that homeowners are also concerned about noise and privacy and uncertainty of what the project will do to property values.

JH Homes President Cameron Henderson said at the planning meeting that the development would leave about 200 feet between the project and the Woodlands subdivision. Henderson said the wetlands in that area would remain undisturbed.

“We’re going to plant additional trees and buffers along the surrounding businesses that front on Pearce Way,” Henderson said. “I just want to say we’re super excited of the opportunity to come to the city of Gainesville. We want to get going as quickly as possible.”

The cluster of townhomes, with as many as 14 buildings with three to six townhomes per building, would be one mile from the Northeast Georgia Medical Center. The community would have access from Pearce Way and Smoky Mountain Springs Lane. Near the project are First Presbyterian Church, a CVS, Smoky Springs retirement apartments and the Woodlands subdivision.

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