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Hall commission delays votes on proposed marble plant, Atlanta River Walk
Concerned residents will have to wait again to comment
0715Mincey
Residents interested in a proposed West Hall marble plant leave the Hall County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday night after the board decided to postpone the matter.

A vote on two proposed Hall County large developments has been put off until Aug. 25.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday night to postpone decisions that would allow construction of a 100,750-square-foot marble plant off Browns Bridge Road in West Hall and a 508-acre multi-use development in South Hall.

Regarding the Mincey Marble plant, it may have been a slight case of deja vu for many residents.

Thursday night’s delay was similar to Monday’s commission work session, when some 30 people showed only to be told comments would be reserved for a public hearing Thursday.

Commissioners didn’t hold the public hearing Thursday, instead deciding to accept a request by the company to delay action. The result: an exodus of dozens of residents from the meeting.

Commissioner Billy Powell thanked residents for attending the meeting, but added, “I know I sent out over 60 emails trying to warn people that it probably would be tabled.”

One of the proposal’s lead opponents, Lewis Miller, said a community meeting with Mincey is planned for 5:30 p.m. July 28 at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.

Mincey is seeking a rezoning that would enable the 39-year-old cast marble manufacturer to build the plant across the street from the current building at 4321 Browns Bridge Road, or next to Spainhill Road, west of Cherokee Trail.

The company’s plans got the Hall County Planning Commission’s approval, with conditions, on June 20.

Residents are opposed for several reasons, particularly that the plant is out of character with the mostly residential area.

Hall County planning staff, meanwhile, has recommended denial of the project for other reasons.

“Marble manufacturing may have an adverse effect on the existing residential properties,” a staff report states. “The proposed use is likely to produce obnoxious odors, noise, dust and possibly other objectionable conditions.”

Jim Huddleston, Mincey’s vice president of operations, has said that if the rezoning is approved, construction on the new building could start in August and be completed by the first of the year.

Holding up a vote on the 508-acre Atlanta River Walk is a requirement that development plats must say that Road Atlanta racetrack is next to the property and “occasionally there will be noise from motor racing cars and crowds.”

“That could kill the project,” said Otis Aleman, an engineer representing Peachtree City-based ARW Group, which is proposing the development.

“The climate of financing is not to maximize profit — it is to reduce risk,” he told the commission. “That will raise all sorts of flags to have that on the plat and therefore, it could be detrimental to the overall status of the project.”

Commissioner Jeff Stowe said, “I’m kind of surprised any banking institution would have any issue with that. It would save potential headaches down the road.”

The matter was postponed to give ARW Group time to run the language by the lender.

“I do understand this would be a good thing to come to a happy medium,” Aleman told commissioners. “... We want to get started on the project and we want your county to grow.”

The $700 million multi-use project, which has gotten a nod of approval from the Hall County Planning Commission, would be off Old Winder Highway/Ga. 211 at Union Church Road.

The proposal calls for some 265 single-family homes, 215 townhomes, 600 multifamily units, 242,000 square feet of retail space and 424,000 square feet of office space.

ARW Group’s plans also call for a 200-room hotel, 20,000-square-foot convention center, 50,000-square-foot grocery store and 60,000-square-foot theater.

But its main feature is construction of “a man-made feature similar to a river and surrounding it with world-class mixed-use development,” ARW Group principal Jorge Duran has said.

The proposal has drawn concerns from some residents, with worries including traffic, noise and environmental impacts.

 

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