The Hall County Planning Commission agreed to wait until November to decide on proposed changes for a North Hall development so the developer and neighbors can sort through their issues and come up with a compromise.
Neighbors of the 82-acre Riverbrook Village Development expressed opposition to the developer’s proposed changes for the site at the planning commission meeting Monday night.
The development is on the northwest corner of Price and Thompson Bridge roads. A lone CVS Pharmacy currently sits on the graded site.
The changes to the development’s master plan include reducing the square footage available for commercial use from 373,450 to 316,00 and going from building 61 townhomes to 288 apartment units. The entryway to the property would also be moved from Thompson Bridge Road to Price Road, across the street from Walnut Grove subdivision.
Developer Steve McKibbon, a principal with McKibbon-Robison, said the original plans were made in 2006 before the economy took a downturn.
The residential changes were made to attract businesses. McKibbon said many of the businesses he’s spoken with, including Publix, have said they need more population in the area before they’ll build on the property.
“If we don’t get the residential developments in there I don’t know how long it’s going to sit there as an ugly piece of dirt,” McKibbon said.
McKibbon said the development could be completed by 2016 in a best-case scenario.
Residents of Walnut Grove and Price Road expressed concerns with the changes to the developer and commissioners.
Chief among those concerns was traffic and how the proposed entryway would affect traffic flow on Price Road.
Walnut Grove Homeowners Association Vice President Jeremy Griffey said his concern, and the concern of other homeowners, was the traffic an extra 288 homes would bring to Price Road and the placement of the entryway.
He said he first learned about the proposed changes to the development from reading The Times.
“Everyone we have talked to is uniformly opposed to this,” Griffey told the commissioners.
Hart Wilheit Payne, a Price Road resident, said the traffic study conducted by the developer was not accurate because it was completed in the summer when school was not in session.
McKibbon said he hoped a traffic signal would be approved to help ease congestion and said there was some room in the plan to adjust the number of apartments, which would be built in phases.
McKibbon said he’s happy to speak with any residents who have concerns. He said he’s been waiting five years to develop the property and doesn’t see a problem with waiting a little longer.
The planning commission will discuss the changes again on Nov. 19 in the new Hall County Government Center on Browns Bridge Road.
If approved by the planning commission the proposal would go to the Hall County Board of Commissioners, which has the final say.