A couple hundred residents of the Reunion subdivision in southeast Hall sounded off Thursday July 22 against a proposed expansion to their neighborhood that would add 144 single-family homes.
The developer, Pulte, hosted the meeting at The Venue at Friendship Springs in Flowery Branch. Pulte is applying to rezone three tracts comprising 56 acres of land adjacent to Reunion at 7013, 7095 and 7099 Spout Springs Road, according to Hall County planning documents.
The plan includes a new 1,500-square-foot swimming pool that would be located near other amenities at the Reunion Country Club.
Residents largely don’t oppose the new rezoning or the addition of homes off of Spout Springs, but they said repeatedly during the meeting, they do not want the expansion to connect with Reunion and use Reunion amenities. The plan would add a road that would connect the new expansion to Grand Reunion Drive, one of the neighborhood’s major interior roads, which leads to the country club.
Residents said that the amenities currently provided, including tennis courts and a swimming pool, are already overcrowded and building an expansion that would connect to Reunion would add more traffic to their subdivision and more wear on their amenities.
“We have already overbuilt Reunion neighborhood with overcrowded amenities and streets,” said Marlon McKinney, whose home would be adjacent to the new connecting road.
Jason Garrett, Pulte’s vice president of land and planning development, represented Pulte at the meeting, hearing comments and questions from upset residents. Garrett was asked several times why the new expansion had to be connected to Reunion rather than building it as a standalone subdivision with its own amenities and no access to Grand Reunion Drive.
“We see an inherent value,” Garrett said. “We’ve invested a ton of money in Reunion, and we think Reunion is a fantastic place. We’re just exercising our right to extend Reunion … and we’re trying to mitigate the impact of these additional homes.”
The new lots would be consistent with current minimum lot sizes in Reunion at 1,700 square feet, Garrett said. Resident concerns would be considered, Garrett said, but Pulte has a right to expand the subdivision whether residents like the decision or not.
Rhonda McKinney, Marlon McKinney’s wife, has been the neighborhood’s main organizer. She started a Facebook group that includes more than 500 residents, passed out flyers to most homes in their neighborhood and started a petition opposing the development. As of July 22, the petition had 735 signatures. Currently, the neighborhood has 802 lots and the expansion would increase that to 946.
“Pulte, go build whatever you want to,” McKinney said. “Just get out of Reunion.”
Residents were also upset with Pulte because they expected to gain control of their homeowners association this year. But with the new expansion, Pulte could retain final say on association matters. Garrett said that they could discuss that issue further.
Many residents also opposed the pool that Pulte would add with the expansion, saying they would prefer the current greenspace it would replace.
The zoning application will go before the Hall County Planning Commission on Aug. 16, and McKinney said to expect hundreds of residents in attendance wearing red shirts to demonstrate their opposition.