A proposed development on Limestone Parkway in Gainesville will now only be commercial rather than mixed-use, reducing the size of the property and removing access from Lakeview Drive.
The property, a currently vacant lot near Gainesville Middle School and Lakeview Academy, will now be just under 34 acres rather than the originally proposed 75 acres. The proposal includes 189,400 square feet of office, retail, restaurant and hotel space. The plans had originally also included 252 multifamily housing units and 33 single-family homes, but the development will no longer include a residential portion.
The Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board recommended approval of the project on Tuesday, June 12. Board member Ryan Thompson was the only one present who voted to deny the request. Doug Carter, Jane Fleming, Rich White, Kelvin Simmons and Eddie Martin Sr. voted to approve based on the planning staff’s conditions. Board member Carmen Delgado was absent Tuesday.
Attorney Jim Walters, speaking at Tuesday’s meeting on behalf of developer Wendell Starke, said removing the residential plans for the development will avoid placing a burden on Gainesville City Schools. The Gainesville City Board of Education submitted a letter to the planning board in April expressing concerns about the density of the development.
Walters said the project has been in the planning stages for about two and a half years, and he thinks the development would be a welcome addition to the community.
“It is a growing area, and we think we have a good plan for this particular piece of property. We’re excited about putting it in place,” Walters said.
Gainesville Planning Manager Matt Tate said the development is designed like other town center concepts such as The Forum on Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners or Avalon in Alpharetta. With the residential portion removed from the plans, the number of trips to the property would be reduced, and there would be no access from the property onto Lakeview Drive, he said.
Mark VanTassel spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, saying he hopes the development is planned mindfully to fit in with the surrounding area. His home on Lakeview Drive would have been adjacent to the originally proposed, larger property.
Odis Sisk, who also spoke Tuesday, said he had spoken with residents in the area about the project, and many were concerned about their property taxes. Sisk, who is an arborist, also said he hopes the development follows environmental regulations, but the new smaller property was an improvement.
The planning board’s recommendation will now go to the Gainesville City Council for a public hearing on July 17.
Gainesville City Council
When: 5:30 p.m. July 17
Where: Public Safety Complex, 701 Queen City Parkway