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Thompson Bridge rezoning foreshadows more commercial development
2.59 acres approved for business, but which businesses isn't yet clear
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The reach of commercial development along Thompson Bridge Road is not limited to the portion that runs through the Gainesville city limits.

The thoroughfare also runs through Hall County’s jurisdiction, connecting Gainesville with Murrayville.

And some choice land along this stretch is now being eyed for new business.

The county planning commission voted 4-1 Monday to rezone about 2.59 acres on the west side of Thompson Bridge at its intersection with Garden Boulevard and just south of Price Road.

The county Board of Commissioners will vote on the matter Dec. 10.

It is unclear what businesses could go in there, which upset some nearby residents who shared their concerns with the commission.

Representatives for the landowners said they need the zoning changed before they can lock in a tenant and developer.

However, the likely and ideal development here is a small strip center with retail outlets.

But the change in zoning to highway business from residential, coupled with the fact that the land is in the Gateway Corridors Overlay District, does put several restrictions on which type of businesses can locate there.

For example, certain retail services, like storage or car repair shops are either prohibited or would need additional approval from county officials.

In addition, “Since the property would be subject to the Gateway Corridors Overlay District standards, the future development would be subject to certain architectural and signage requirements,” planning director Srikanth Yamala said.

The Gainesville City Council will vote on whether to allow a Dunkin’ Donuts to build on Thompson Bridge Road when it meets Tuesday night, and the corridor that connects with downtown has long been viewed as prime for the “retail follows rooftops” mantra.

“While we haven’t seen a lot of commercial rezoning requests along Thompson Bridge Road, the corridor definitely has the potential, specifically from Ledan Road to Price Road,” Yamala said. “This particular stretch calls for retail and commercial in the future land use map.”