A proposed 313-home subdivision that had drawn community opposition was rejected Thursday, Sept. 15, by Flowery Branch City Council.
The council voted 3-2 to deny the project at 5183 Gainesville St., between McEver Road and downtown.
Council members Oliver McClellan and Joe Anglin voted to approve the development, and council members Chris Mundy, Joseph Mezzanotte and William McDaniel voted against it.
Only McClellan had any comments before the vote.
“I know everybody is concerned about density, but density has a lot of different meanings,” he said. “It’s not just how many houses … are in a certain spot. My little subdivision (Sterling on the Lake) has 2,000 homes. So, it’s kind of all relative … in terms of the spot you’re putting it on.”
McClellan, questioning developer Mike Dye, also noted that streets in the subdivision would have been owned by the residents instead of the city.
“It will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next 20 years to maintain those streets, and those are going to be absorbed by the residents,” Dye said.
The project had started with 335 homes, but was whittled to 313 after concerns about density were raised by council members.
In an earlier meeting, however, Dye didn’t back off much on the density issue.
“As the city is trying to grow the downtown area, I just feel that … any increase in density that you can help feed the downtown shops and restaurants is going to benefit this community,” he said.
Dye pushed that point again at a City Council meeting Thursday, Sept. 1.
“There’s a real push — and it’s part of (the city’s) comprehensive plan — to revitalize the downtown area and to do that through density,” Dye said. “My project is 1,500 feet from the corner of Spring Street and is going to add a lot of walkability to (downtown).”
A map of the project showed the development on both sides of Gainesville Street, which is a key entryway into Flowery Branch from McEver Road. The development also would have featured an amenities area, including a swimming pool, pickleball courts and some greenspace areas.