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Residents boo Hall County commission during vote on subdivision proposed on old alpaca farm
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Residents near Union Church Road speak out against a proposed 130-unit subdivision they say would be too dense and would be out of character with the surrounding neighborhoods. - photo by Conner Evans

More than 100 residents attended the Hall County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, Nov. 30,  to show their opposition to a proposed 130-lot subdivision off of Union Church Road in South Hall.

 The commissioners voted to approve the application in a 3-1 decision with Commissioner Kathy Cooper recusing herself from the vote and Commissioner Shelly Echols dissenting. The motion to approve the subdivision was followed with angry boos and jeers from the audience of red shirts. 

Atlas Development requested to rezone about 79 acres at 5166 Union Church Road and 5154 Union Church Road, off Union Circle and south of Cash Road from agricultural-residential to planned residential development.

The new subdivision would feature an amenity area, including cabana with restrooms, a swimming pool and playground.

“The developer may also include walking trails and passive pocket parks throughout the subdivision,” according to a county planning document.

Residents had made significant efforts to organize before the vote, sending dozens of emails to commissioners, creating a web page and signing an online petition to show their opposition to the rezoning.

At the public hearing for the application, several residents said the development was out of character with the surrounding area, with lot sizes that were too small and a net density that was too high. They argued that because much of the 79 acres was too steep to build on, the actual density was much higher than the gross density seemed. 

Commissioner Billy Powell moved to approve the application after the heated dissent and a rebuttal from Brian Rochester of Rochester and Associates representing the applicant. 

“You’re not going to make everyone happy with your decisions,” Powell said. 

Rochester argued that other neighborhoods approved by the county recently were more dense than this proposal and the traffic study was done during the school year, in compliance with county policy. 

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Residents show up in mass, wearing red and carrying signs to show their opposition to a proposed subdivision off Union Church Road in South Hall. - photo by Conner Evans