A proposed 509-acre, nearly 2,000-home development was recommended for approval Monday night by the Hall County Planning Commission.
The May 20 vote came after a 90-minute discussion that featured comments from the developer as well as supporters and opponents.
“I didn’t know how I was (voting) going in, but I’m leaning toward it’s something I probably could support,” planning board member Stan Hunt said.
Board member Johnny Varner said he believed the development would help shore up Hall’s housing shortage. More housing “is a necessity, at this point,” he said.
Rotunda Land & Development Group LLC is looking to build 1,969 homes over 6-8 years at the site, but plans also call for 482,415 square feet in retail space, 8.4 acres in outparcel development and a 175-unit hotel.
Spokesman Al Maiorino has said the development, known as Reveille, “will be authentically southern and have a feel not before offered in Atlanta, and Braselton is in a great location for this.”
“Reveille is going to be a true live-work-play community … like nothing that Hall County has ever seen,” said Henry Massie, senior vice president of Atlanta-based Rotunda.
Several residents spoke in support, including Clyde Elrod, who said he has seen similar projects done in New Orleans and California.
“I am beyond excited,” he said.
Elrod did say he is worried about the project’s impact on Ga. 211, “which is beyond packed. If you get on there right now, from I-85, you’re just sitting in traffic at 5 o’clock.”
Traffic impact “is the biggest concern of everybody in the area,” said Carol McCormick, speaking in opposition to the plans.
Project plans do include improvements at the development’s access points off Ga. 211, including a traffic signal at Union Church Road.
And development officials argued that Reveille would have less traffic than the development that had been planned for the site: Atlanta River Walk, which called for fewer homes, but two times more retail space.
Hall’s planning staff also recommends approval of the project, but with several conditions, including that fast-food restaurants with a drive-thru must first get the OK from the Hall County Board of Commissioners.
Also, a sound barrier must be built on the southeast side of Road Atlanta, which neighbors the property, and “owners and users of this property are informed of motor raceway venues nearby and should expect noise, crowds and other effects associated with such venues.”
The planning board’s decision is only a recommendation to the county commission, which would have final say on the matter. The commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on the project June 13.