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Gainesville planning board recommends approval of 79 lakefront condos near marina
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Clyde Morris speaks to the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board on behalf of the Lake Lanier Association regarding concerns of runoff from a proposed condominium development. - photo by Joshua Silavent

The Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board on Tuesday, March 13, recommended approval of two six-story condominium towers overlooking Lake Lanier and connecting to the Gainesville Marina.

City Council will have the final say in April.

The property, located off Dawsonville Highway, has remained undeveloped since being rezoned in 2000 for a mixed-use development with office, bank and retail space.

Now, Lake 53 LLC is looking to rezone more than six acres of shorefront property that remains heavily wooded.

Seventy-nine three-bedroom, three-bathroom condos with ground-level parking and an adjacent office building are planned.

The towers, if approved, would be no more than 80 feet in height. The property would include a clubhouse, cabana and pool. A walkway with railing leading to and from the marina would also be built.

According to city staff reports, a traffic study is not required and the developer is seeking flexibility in how it orients the towers to maximize lake views.

Jim Walters, a local attorney representing the developer, said the condos would likely be priced for “empty nesters” and that he doesn’t expect the development to have an impact on local schools.

The sizes of the condos also “don’t really lend themselves to family occupancy,” Walters added.

Clyde Morris, a local attorney speaking on behalf of the Lake Lanier Association, said concerns about sediment runoff from construction of the condos, which is scheduled for the summer of 2019, are serious and need to be considered.

Two years ago, residents in the area documented how stormwater detention infrastructure at the then-new North Lake Square shopping center on Dawsonville Highway had not adequately stopped silt runoff from making its way into a Lake Lanier cove.

City crews spent weeks monitoring the site. And Myron Bennett, engineering and construction division manager in the Gainesville Department of Water Resources, told The Times then that the contractor made necessary repairs to keep in compliance with city stormwater regulations.

Morris said the Lanier Association would like to partner with the condominium developer to monitor runoff if and when construction moves forward.