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Rezoning was numerous in 2018, but here’s how actual building fared
Plans appear to be moving forward on a new subdivision off Martin Road at Falcon Parkway/Ga. 13 — near a planned new interchange at Interstate 985 — but possibly without 24 acres long zoned for commercial use. Brand Banking of Duluth is seeking rezoning of the 24 acres from highway business to multiple family residential district. The 24 acres is part of a proposed 123-acre development, with the remaining acres zoned residential.

Last year was a mixed bag for new construction in Hall County, judging by the number of building permits provided by area governments.

Numbers are up and down for 2018 across Hall, despite the surge in residential rezoning approvals, particularly in South Hall.

Flowery Branch issued 185 total building permits last year, down compared to the previous two years. The city issued 191 in 2016 and 294 in 2017.

Oakwood issued 72 residential and industrial permits in 2016, 52 in 2017 and 69 in 2018.

Despite the fluctuations, the numbers bear watching in 2019, as hundreds of units were approved between Oakwood and Flowery Branch in 2018, including most recently a 324-unit apartment complex off Phil Niekro Boulevard and near Interstate 985.

“Although there were a lot of (rezoning) approvals in 2018, actual construction will begin in 2019,” said Rich Atkinson, Flowery Branch community development director. “I think this will be the year you begin to see homes actually come out of the ground.”

One of Hall County’s busiest communities for housing construction continues to be Sterling on the Lake off Spout Springs Road in Flowery Branch.

The subdivision, which has a buildout of 2,000 homes covering 1,000 acres, closed on 132 homes in 2018, said Jennifer Landers, vice president for operations for the developer, Newland Communities.

“We attribute the community’s continued success to the myriad choices we offer home shoppers,” she said in an email.

Some 170 homes were completed in 2018 and “we anticipate about 150 to be built in 2019,” Landers said.

Unincorporated Hall County has seen an overall, steady increase in total permits: 2,756 in 2016, 3,145 in 2017 and 3,292 in 2018. Likewise, residential permits have risen over the period: 1,202 in 2016, 1,384 in 2017 and 1,533 in 2018.

Those numbers include new housing, as well as additions and renovations.

Gainesville numbers go up and down. Overall permits were 2,276 in 2016, 2,527 in 2017 and
2,493 in 2018.

Additions and remodelings make up the vast majority of permits.

However, the total number of single-family home permits is dropping. The number was 442 in 2016, 412 in 2017 and 357 in 2018.

“In general, development continues to occur within all areas of Gainesville,” said Matt Tate, the city’s planning manager. “The development trend has remained consistently strong with a slight reduction of new single-family residential development, as some of our larger subdivisions (such as Cresswind and Mundy Mill) are closer to being built out.”

He added: “However, there are other properties within Gainesville that have zoning approval for new residential development that may be developed in the future.”

Hall’s smaller cities typically see handfuls of permits per year, but Clermont saw a jump from four in 2017 to 18 in 2018.

Buford, which is split between Hall and Gwinnett counties, has seen a sharp drop in building permits in Hall since 2016, when the city had 105 commercial and residential ones issued. That number increased to 118 in 2017 but dropped to 73 last year.

Residential permits have dropped from 72 in 2016 to 34 in 2018.

Braselton, which straddles four counties, including Hall, has seen a fluctuation in building permits in Hall, with 51 in 2016, 94 in 2017 and 65 in 2018.

Gillsville, which is in Hall and Banks counties, had four building permits in 2018. Lula, also in Hall and Banks, had 35 residential permits and four commercial permits in 2018.

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