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Oakwood commercial-housing proposal moves forward but with these key conditions
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A proposed multi-use development, including commercial establishments and 40 townhomes, could be built on this busy corner in Oakwood not far from Interstate 985's Exit 16. - photo by Jeff Gill

A proposal adding a commercial-housing development to a busy Oakwood intersection took a step forward Monday, May 16, but with a key exception.

The Oakwood Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of plans for 55,000 square feet in commercial development and 40 townhomes at Winder and Atlanta highways.

However, the board said the townhomes must comply with whatever regulations are in place after Oakwood City Council lifts a moratorium on high-density and large-scale residential developments, and no more than 40 units can be considered.

The vote came after commissioners expressed initial concerns about the townhomes because of the moratorium, which is in place until at least June 13.

City planner Dan Schultz said the moratorium only applies to applications for multifamily and planned residential development rezonings, not planned commercial development, as Eden Rock Real Estate Partners LLC is pursuing.

Still, Commissioner Tony Millwood said, “If you want to change (the townhomes) to office buildings, medical buildings, then I’m all for it.”

Eden Rock told the planning board it wanted to proceed with the plans as is.

The proposal now goes before Oakwood City Council for a final vote at a later meeting.

Millwood suggested that Eden Rock bring more specifics to the council, including a more detailed site plan. Board members also said they were concerned about traffic on Poplar Springs Road, a busy road that feeds to several Hall County schools.

At rush hour, “that backlog is just way too much,” Millwood said.

As for the commercial development, consisting of a two-story, 50,000-square-foot building and a second 5,000-square-foot building, “We do have a large, regional health care provider we’re working with on this site,” Eden Rock’s lawyer, Ethan Underwood of Cumming, has said.

“Everything is confidential at the moment, but we’re very excited. We think it will be a great addition to the Oakwood community,” he said.

The two commercial buildings would face Winder Highway, across from Chick-fil-A, with access off Winder Highway. The townhomes could be reached from either Winder Highway or an extension of Poplar Springs Fork Road, which juts off Poplar Springs Road.

“The hope would be to start breaking ground in the middle of next year,” Underwood said.