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Hall commissioners to consider 508-acre Atlanta River Walk this week
development Page 1
The Atlanta River Walk would bring homes, shopping, restaurants, offices, a hotel and a man-made river to 508 acres off Old Winder Highway in South Hall near the Jackson County line.

Public meeting

What: The Hall County Board of Commissioners will hear about the 508-acre Atlanta River Walk proposal during a work session.

When: 3 p.m. Monday

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

Carrie Kiger is concerned about the extra traffic a 508-acre waterfront development in South Hall near Jackson County would create for the already busy road in front of her subdivision.

However, “I am looking forward to the possibility of higher-end retail and table-service restaurants that the project might bring,” said the resident of Reunion Country Club, which is off Friendship Road/Ga. 347 and would be near the project.

Opinions vary widely on the proposed Atlanta River Walk, which is set to wind its way through the Hall County Board of Commissioners this week.

The commission is set to hear about the $700 million multi-use project during a work session at 3 p.m. Monday. A public hearing and final action is set for Thursday.

The Hall County Planning Commission recommended approval on June 20.

“It’s got some things that need to be done, but overall, it’ll probably be a good project,” Chairman Don Smallwood said.

The development off Old Winder Highway/Ga. 211 at Union Church Road would include 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.

Peachtree City-based ARW Group LLC’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 centerpiece 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.

“No updates (in the proposal) have been presented since the Planning Commission meeting,” Hall Planning Director Srikanth Yamala said last week.

During the planning board meeting, the proposal drew concerns from some residents, with worries including traffic, noise and environmental impacts.

“We’re all for the (development), but let’s do it right,” area resident James Guyton said. “The first thing we need to do before we consider building anything is widening (Ga.) 211.”

Jill Cooper Hilton of Braselton said, “How do we know when the money runs out that we’re not just going to have (just a) residential area down there? Who’s to say the commercial part of it’s coming?”

Hall planning staff is also recommending approval of the project, as long as certain conditions are met. One concern is traffic.

“Staff is recommending that the developer work with Hall County engineering and/or (Georgia Department of Transportation) on determining the road improvements necessary to serve this development,” states a Hall County document.

The potential development also has raised environmental worries.

“There are lakes and additional wetlands shown on various aerials that are not being designated on the concept plan,” according to a Jackson County written response to the project.

And the Atlanta Regional Commission says, “After construction, water quality will be impacted due to polluted stormwater runoff.”

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