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Oakwood puts off vote on Martin Road commercial development
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Martin Road resident Darlene Long addresses the Oakwood City Council Monday, Aug. 12, on a proposal to commercialize a 15-acre site off Martin Road at Falcon Parkway/Ga. 13. - photo by Jeff Gill

The Oakwood City Council delayed a vote Monday, Aug. 12, on whether to commercialize a corner of the future Exit 14 off Interstate 985 in South Hall.

Councilman Dwight Wood called for the delay until the council’s Sept. 9 meeting “so that we can digest all this, get a better understanding and make a more informed decision.”

Council members agreed.

Tyler Gaines of Atlanta is asking for council to rezone a nearly 15-acre site off Martin Road and Falcon Parkway/Ga. 13 from multifamily residential to highway business. 

The rezoning could open up the site to various kinds of development, including restaurants, hotel, bank, pharmacy or gas station.

Nothing specific has been planned for the site.

Bradley Dunckel of Gainesville engineering firm Rochester & Associates said developers “think they have a good plan that will be marketable and sustainable.”

Monday’s meeting drew a large group of residents opposed to developing the area as commercial.

Darlene Long told the council, “This is a wide range of commercial choices that could negatively impact traffic safety and bring congestion to our community.”

She said in an interview last week “a commercial rezoning request such as this will undo everything that we have worked so hard to get in place.”

Long was referring to Martin Road Stakeholders, a residents’ group that formed in response to Exit 14 being built, but ended up tackling other issues, including plans to widen Martin Road from Ga. 13 to Winder Highway that were later ditched.

Resident Gary McClung told the council that commercial development “has no place belly up next to all these residential areas.”

“You’ve got plenty of parcels of land for sale across Atlanta Highway and, even better, across 985,” he said.

The issue represents the first development test for the new interchange, which is set to open Aug. 31.

The interchange on the Oakwood-Flowery Branch border will connect Martin Road east of I-985 to H.F. Reed Industrial Parkway at Thurmon Tanner Parkway west of I-985.