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Hall County objects to this developer’s annexation request, saying proposed subdivision is too dense

Hall County is objecting to a proposed annexation of 24 acres for a proposed subdivision in Oakwood it considers too dense compared to current use.

The request from Oakwood developer Johnny Free of Cajun-Dawg Land Holdings, LLC, first came up in June, drawing significant opposition from neighbors that ultimately led to Free withdrawing the application before going to Oakwood City Council. 

Free requested to annex the property at 4465 Martin Road into Oakwood to develop a 90-lot subdivision. Free refiled plans three weeks ago, reducing the number of units down to 61, according to site plans provided by Free. Hall County voted to object to the application on Wednesday, Nov. 10, when the Board of Commissioners approved the resolution.

The four-page objection states the proposed development would be too dense, increasing traffic  in the area more than the current property zoning. The application requests to rezone the property from Hall County’s planned residential development and R-1 zonings to Oakwood’s R-3 zoning. And it requires annexation into Oakwood, so that it can get sewer service from the city. 

“The proposed annexation and rezoning would result in a material increase in infrastructure demands upon Hall County,” the objection states. “(The) area has developed with lower density residential subdivisions in the past, and the surrounding area is substantially lower density residential in character.”

The county’s zoning only allows for one unit per acre, Stephens said, while the application requests 2.6 units per acre. Stephens said Oakwood did not provide detailed site plans for the proposal before filing the objection. 

“Insufficient information has been provided by the City as to the nature and scope of the subdivision …  thus specific objection is impossible,” the objection states.

Multiple commissioners and Stephens said they did not recall or were not aware of the annexation request filed in June.

Free said he didn’t know the county would object to his latest proposal. 

“It’s basically the same thing that went on down there in Buford,” Free said. “They’re going to try to fight it.”

The last time Hall County objected to an annexation request was in March when a large warehouse development off McEver Road in South Hall was denied by the county and Flowery Branch before going to the city of Buford for an annexation request. The county went to arbitration over the annexation, arguing that the use would be more intense than the county’s current zoning and out of character with the surrounding use. But a state panel ruled in Buford’s favor. 

This objection would trigger the same process, Stephens said, meaning that the county and city would likely argue before an arbitration panel with representatives from around the state regarding the annexation and use of the land. 

“There’s a chance that we can work through it (with the city),” Stephens said. “But we may need to ask the panel to make a decision on that.” 

Free said his proposal of about 2.6 units per acre would be in line with the Oakwood zoning he requested and his lot sizes would be about 7,600 square feet. Houses in the subdivision are expected to cost $500,000 to $600,000, he said. 

The annexation was expected to go before Oakwood’s Planning Commission at its January meeting, though the application could be delayed because of the county’s objection. Oakwood City Manager B. R. White said the city has not yet been served the county’s objection. 

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