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Why residents oppose proposed subdivision on former alpaca farm
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A 148-home subdivision is proposed off this former alpaca farm site off Union Church Road and Union Circle in South Hall. - photo by Jeff Gill

Opposition is mounting to a proposed 148-home subdivision on a former alpaca farm off Union Church Road in South Hall.

“If this proposal goes through, there could be an additional 296 cars entering onto Union Church at an average of two cars per household,” area resident Stephanie McHugh told The Times. “Growth and development are inevitable. However, this type of development is irresponsible and not well planned.”

An online petition also objects to the proposed development at 5166 Union Church Road and 5154 Union Church Road, off Union Circle and south of Cash Road.

The petition says the development would, among other things, “negatively impact local residents by increasing traffic, noise pollution, pollution to Mulberry Creek, placing additional burdens on police and emergency services, (and) creating unnecessary burden on our fragile infrastructure.”

Cameron Henderson, listed as the contact for Buford-based Atlas Development, couldn’t be reached for comment. A document with Atlas’ application for the development says “the project is consistent with the residential designation of the future land-use map.”

Atlas is set to go before the Hall County Planning Commission on Monday, Oct. 4, with a request to rezone 79 acres from agricultural-residential to planned residential development for the subdivision.

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.

Even with growth pushing in from Flowery Branch and Oakwood, Union Church Road is still a largely rural road running between Winder Highway/Ga. 53 in Chestnut Mountain to Old Winder Highway/Ga. 211 near Braselton.

Union Circle connects with heavily traveled Spout Springs Road, which is being widened from two to four lanes.

A traffic study prepared as part of the proposed development says that intersections at or near the property “are currently operating at an acceptable (level) … and the proposed project is not expected to significantly impact the roadway network.”

No improvements are recommended, the study suggests.

Hall officials said in planning documents that both left and right turn lanes on Union Church Road will be required per county code.

More than a dozen residents showed up at a Sept. 20 planning commission meeting to voice concerns about the development. Speakers said the subdivision would be too dense, add too much traffic and not fit with the surrounding area.

The commission ended up tabling the item to Oct. 4 to give the applicant time to address concerns about lot sizes being too small for the area and allow time to meet with residents. 

County staff is suggesting approval, saying the request fits the county’s comprehensive land-use plan. The planning board will make a formal recommendation of approval or denial to the Hall County Board of Commissioners, which will consider the matter at an Nov. 11 meeting.

Hall County Planning Commission

What: Rezoning for a proposed 148-home subdivision off Union Church Road in South Hall

When: 5:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 4

Where: Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville