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Why developer plans to withdraw Lula townhouse project
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Ncredible Properties, a residential development and investment arm of Gainesville-based The Norton Agency, plans to bring a small neighborhood of historic character townhomes to downtown Lula. Image courtesy Ncredible Properties

The Norton Agency will withdraw plans to build a 36-townhome project in downtown Lula at the Monday City Council meeting. 

The project had gone through multiple revisions earlier this year in effort to alleviate Lula residents’ concerns about increased traffic that would be caused by the development, which would have been located at 5980 Moon Drive. The CEO of the Norton Agency, Frank Norton, whose residential development arm Ncredible Properties proposed the project, offered to downsize the development from 36 to 30 homes and cut down parking spaces from 90 to 70 in April to address concerns.

The Lula Planning Commission recommended the council deny Norton’s zoning application on April 13. The council also recommended 37 conditions for the project, including changes for the sidewalks and fencing, City Manager Dennis Bergin said. “The devil sometimes is in the details,” Bergin said.

Norton recently submitted his request for withdrawal of the project, which the Lula City Council will vote on Monday June 21. Norton said he made the decision after consulting with a variety of people in downtown Lula. 

“While I have a number of supporters of the project, there was some concern about the traffic beyond just this site,” he said in an interview Thursday June 17. “There are some issues in downtown Lula with regard to the railroad and the eastern side of the community of Lula and that access. And while we suggested some improvements, it would not have solved all of those problems.”

He still has long-term interest in developing housing in Lula, Norton said. About 40% of Lula residents rent, he said, but there is very little currently available downtown. 

“Lula is interestingly positioned between the industrial area of Hall County and the industrial area of Habersham County and has potential for a walkable village atmosphere,” Norton said. “It will require some investment both internal and outside investment to achieve that.”

Lula has two residential projects being constructed right now at Waterford Glen and Magnolia Station, Bergin said. 

“From our perspective it’s a matter of managing and bringing quality growth and attracting quality,” Bergin said. “The demand is there, there’s no doubt about that.”

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