A heavily wooded, somewhat isolated Gainesville peninsula is closer to being transformed into a busy residential community for retirees and older adults.
Trees are being taken down and land is being graded off Ahaluna Drive for the first phase of The Lake Society, a 723-home Lake Lanier community marketed to aging boomers and older adults in independent and assisted living.
“Our concept is resort country-club living on the lake,” said Tad Braswell of Southwyck Homes, one of the builders.
Plans are largely intact since the development’s June 2017 approval by Gainesville City Council, except that sections for retail development and 90 townhomes are no longer planned, Braswell said.
Braswell represented developer Oak Hall Companies in the initial rollout of the project, which now calls for 373 single-family detached homes and 350 assisted living, memory care, independent living and duplex cottage units, according to a map of the 211-acre development.
The total number of units allowed in the 2017 approval was 860.
Also planned is a 40,000-square-foot self-storage facility allowing for boats and recreational vehicles, as well as 38-slip and 92-slip community boat docks.
Single-family homes are expected to be priced from the high $500,000s to the high $700,000s, Braswell said. Rental amounts for the assisted and independent living units weren’t available as of Tuesday, Aug. 16.
The Lake Society also will feature 12,000 square feet in amenities, including a clubhouse and indoor pool.
Braswell said he expects that residents will use golf carts to "ride down to the marina, and hop in a boat and take off."
The first single-family homes could start selling in early 2023, with the community taking 4-5 years to complete, Braswell said.
Traffic concerns were especially an issue for residents in 2017, as Ahaluna spills out onto heavily traveled Dawsonville Highway/Ga. 53. Traffic remains an issue as the Georgia Department of Transportation is planning improvements to Ga. 53 between Ahaluna and Shallowford Road.
Conditions for approval included the developer pledging $425,000 toward road improvements and donating land for a fire station.
One of the more vocal local residents early on was Clyde Morris.
He’s still watching things in his role as chairman of Lake Lanier Association’s Erosion & Sedimentation Committee.
The lake group “has reviewed the engineering plans and has been monitoring the erosion and sedimentation site preparation,” Morris said in an email Tuesday. “The stormwater drainage system appears to be well designed and site preparation has gone well.”