Lanier Village Estates, a retirement community off of Mount Vernon Road in North Hall, will likely expand next year, pending approval from county commissioners.
The Hall County Planning Commission approved the request Tuesday. Commission member Johnny Varner was opposed, and all other members voted in favor.
Acts Retirement-Life Communities, which operates the community, is working with Atlanta-based THW Design for the project, which would require the addition and rezoning of two tracts totaling about 15 acres.
The community would have 31 new carriage homes and 11 additional assisted living beds. About 580 people live at Lanier Village Estates, which currently has 31 carriage homes, 40 assisted living suites, 303 apartments and 64 skilled care rooms.
Brian Deriso of THW Design said a third-party traffic study found no need for a turn lane into the new portion of the development, but the Georgia Department of Transportation would also be consulted. The proposal includes a gated entrance off of Mount Vernon Road. The community currently only has an entrance off of Thompson Bridge Road.
Several people who live near Lanier Village Estates spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, expressing concerns about traffic on Mount Vernon Road and sediment from construction going into the lake or nearby ponds.
The entrance proposed on Mount Vernon Road would bring unneeded traffic to the area, residents said.
“The traffic up and down Mount Vernon Road is horrible now. … There have been numerous wrecks,” Chris Smith said, noting that Mount Vernon Road has several subdivisions and leads to North Hall Middle School.
Cathy Cuyler said she lives downstream from Lanier Village Estates and when construction on the original development was done in the late 1990s, sediment flowed down into the cove where she lives.
“It flooded down the stream that goes down into the lake, and our cove is shallow as it is,” she said. “But the sediment has caused it to be even more shallow. It’s the first part that goes dry when the lake starts going down.”
Another resident said runoff had also polluted his pond during original construction. While both county staff and an engineer for the project said erosion regulations have changed since construction was first completed, the commission noted that builders would have to be more mindful if the expansion was approved and would need to communicate with neighbors.
“You can’t just come in and walk on people to do what you want to do. … When it was new and it was being built, there were some construction problems that you didn’t seem to want to address and just let it go. It’s not going to happen this time,” commission chairman Don Smallwood said.
The planning commission’s recommendation will now go to the Hall County Board of Commissioners on Sept. 27.
Hall County Board of Commissioners meeting
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27
Where: Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville