Update, Jan. 4: proposal for luxury, lakeside glamping tents in North Hall was tabled until Jan. 18.
The county’s first luxury glamping tents, featuring queen-sized beds, mini-fridges and Wi-Fi, could be coming to a lakeside property in North Hall.
Glamping, or “glamorous camping,” is an upscale style of camping in which guests can rent tents with amenities that make outdoor life a little easier, such as connection to electricity, indoor plumbing and proper beds and bathrooms.
Paul and Ana Price are proposing to construct 10 short-term rental glamping tents and two cabins with access to Lake Lanier on 9.4 acres at 3820 James Ed Road.
“It’s what you would expect at a nice hotel room,” Paul Price said.
The cabins would be about 700 square feet, according to Hall County planning documents, and tent sites would be about 20 by 20 feet. While the cabins would be near James Ed Road, the tents would not be visible from the road, according to the site plan.
The development would include a camp office where guests could check in and purchase supplies, food and beverages, plus guests will have access to a dock, storage facility for recreational items and hiking trails on the property, documents state.
“Each site will feature a safari-style tent on a wooden platform, a fire pit, a charcoal barbeque grill, and a covered area with picnic table and chairs,” documents state. All 10 tents pair with 10 “luxury outhouses” featuring toilets, sinks and showers.
“Our plans are to retire on it,” Price said. “We learned about glamping … It’s really taken off because of the pandemic.”
He estimated that the tents could be rented for $150-$225 per night. This style of camping is likely less attractive to families and more for couples who are celebrating an anniversary or other event, Price said.
Hall County only recently made requests for glamping sites possible.
In late 2020 and early 2021, Price and another applicant made proposals for glamping sites where guests could rent tents on a short-term basis. The county’s short-term rental codes only applied to “structures” such as single-family homes and cabins, but had no permitted use for tents.
The Hall County Planning Commission approved a proposal from staff in March 2021 that would create a way for people to apply for glamping as a conditional use for their property, just as Price is doing. The conditional use comes with 15 conditions that applicants must meet to get approval, setting requirements for buffers, roadway connections and other restrictions.
Almost a year later, Price could become the first person approved for this conditional use in Hall County.
But approval is not guaranteed, because Hall County planning staff recommended denial of Price’s application, writing: “The proposed use is not consistent with the future land use designation. While Lake Lanier serves as an amenity and a recreational opportunity, the comprehensive plan states that short term rentals as a general use are permitted within single-family homes.”
In its zoning analysis, staff wrote that the application would meet most of the 15 requirements for glamping.
If he is denied by the county, Price said, he and his wife will likely build single-family homes on their property instead, which would not require a rezoning from its current vacation cottage designation.
The application will go before the Hall County Planning Commission on Tuesday, Jan. 4. The planning commission can only recommend approval or denial of the application. It would likely receive a final decision from the Board of Commissioners in February.
Hall County Planning Commission
When: 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4
Where: Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St.