Updated Nov. 19 at 6:40 p.m.: This proposal has been withdrawn.
A proposal for a 72-townhome complex between two major traffic arteries off Cantrell Road in Flowery Branch has been presented for a second time, but city opposition to the project hasn’t faded.
“A residential development on this property will be isolated from other residential development and not be supported as part of the larger Flowery Branch community,” city officials said in a report concerning the development.
HillGrove Homes is seeking rezoning from manufacturing to multifamily residential for the complex on nearly nine vacant acres off Cantrell, between Thurmon Tanner Parkway and Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13.
A similar townhome development proposed by HillGrove was denied by Flowery Branch City Council in May 2019.
“The character area for this site (and the surrounding area) is industrial employment,” said a staff report on the project at the time. “A residential product is not consistent with this vision. This character area is meant to provide jobs not housing.”
A public hearing in front of the City Council is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, at Flowery Branch City Hall. A vote is set for Jan. 7.
“The proposed single-family, attached townhome community will complement the existing land-use mix and provide high-quality housing that is convenient for people working in nearby employment centers,” HillGrove says in its application. “The property does not have significant value as currently zoned and is better suited for use and development as a residential community.”
In a letter to the city, Shane M. Lanham, lawyer representing the project, argued the proposed development is compatible with surrounding land uses and zoning classifications, but planning officials don’t agree.
Referring specifically to Thurmon Tanner Parkway, the city says “the highest and best use of this corridor … has historically been deemed to be light to heavy industrial. A divided four-lane parkway is typically built to support the transportation of workers, deliveries and trucks for commercial and industrial uses, not residential use.”
A staff report notes that a warehouse/distribution center behind the proposed townhomes has already been approved for a land disturbance permit.
“The project is delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic but is still expected to start within approximately 6 months,” the report says.