Update, Sept. 9: A high-density lakeside development on Lake Lanier in South Hall was tabled at the Hall County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday, Sept. 9, until Sept 23.
Update, Sept. 7: A proposed lakeside resort-style complex containing apartments and townhomes is set for a final vote this Thursday.
Update, Aug. 2: The Hall County Planning Commission voted Monday, Aug. 2, to recommend denial.
Developers of a proposed lakeside resort-style complex with a mixture of apartments and townhomes will have to iron out more details before the Hall County Planning Commission will give it another look later this summer.
The 305-unit lakefront development proposal from FIDES Development would sit on a 16-acre lot now used mostly for trailer parks at 3450 North Waterworks Road near Buford. It would feature two sections: The View at Waterside, a four- to five-story residential building housing 125 units with one to three bedrooms; and Waterside Point, 180 units spread among residential buildings, townhomes and cottages. It would include a total of 59 townhomes between the two sections.
Both sections would include swimming pools, boat docks and a clubhouse, as well as walking trails, a dog park and other recreational areas.
The development would be north of Lanier Islands Parkway/Ga. 347 between Lanier Islands resort and McEver Road.
“A bridge will provide vehicular and pedestrian connection between the two sections, and the interior roads will be private, with the exception of the cul-de-sac at the entrance,” according to a Hall County planning report on the project.
Planning Commission Chair Chris Braswell said at the Planning Commission meeting Tuesday that the proposal was unprecedented in Hall County in terms of its tight density with its location near Lake Lanier. The proposed density would be 18.73 units per acre, and Braswell said the closest he could recall approving was about 11 units per acre.
Multiple residents spoke in favor of the development, saying they preferred the area be developed rather than keeping the old trailer parks there, though they had reservations about the density and additional traffic it would produce. Bob Seagraves, a resident who said his father put the first trailer in that park, agreed it was the right time to move on from the trailers and try to rebuild the shoreline area.
But several other residents in the area, including several who live on the adjacent Whidby Road, spoke in opposition, saying the development would add unnecessary light pollution, too much traffic, and too many people living there temporarily, which would contrast their single-family home residential area. They also suggested lowering the height of suggested apartment buildings, which could be up to five stories.
“We want to see quality residential development, but this is way too extreme,” Teresa Cantrell, a nearby resident, said.
John Hillman, a partner at FIDES, said one of the development’s advantages would be allowing people to live on Lake Lanier with multiple housing options, because normally single-family homes are the only types of residences on the lake. The development would increase surrounding property values and provide more than $700,000 in estimated property taxes for the county, Hillman said. The main goal is to attract seniors who may be looking to downsize or families who want an additional property on the lake where they could go on weekends, he said.
“Part of the exciting part about this project is we’re creating this almost standalone community that would depend upon itself,” Hillman said. They would add a water treatment facility, clean up the shoreline and maintain internal roads privately, he said.
But, the commission was not satisfied with the level of detail provided. Hillman could not yet provide the expected number of bedrooms in the development, the expected price range, nor could he provide details for the floor plans for townhomes, apartments and cottages.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” Chair Braswell said. “This is the first of its kind in Hall County and we need to make sure we get it right.”
The board moved to table the application until its meeting on Aug. 2, though Braswell said it was likely they would table it again until its Aug. 16 meeting.