A 410-space boat and RV storage business in South Hall was approved Tuesday night by the Hall County Board of Commissioners.
“I believe the best use for this property is a low-impact boat storage,” said Commissioner Kathy Cooper, who represents South Hall, during the June 25 meeting.
The developer, Foster Rd Inc., was asking the county to rezone the 12-acre site at 6127 Lights Ferry Road, off McEver Road, from agricultural-residential to highway business to allow the storage business, which would include a proposed office building.
The property is now occupied by a house built in 1935 and three barns.
The concern about proper land use for the site was raised by one resident at the meeting, and it had been discussed at the Flowery Branch City Council meeting on June 20.
“Given the fact that their own staff is not recommending it and that their future land-use plan doesn’t recommend it — and neither does ours — it seems like we could at least ask for a pause in the process,” City Manager Bill Andrew said to the council.
“We always thought about the possibility of McEver Road … functioning more as a neighborhood shopping kind of district,” he added.
“The comprehensive (land-use) plan is a guidebook for us and we take it very seriously,” Cooper said. “At the same time, I take very seriously if it were my backyard. What’s the best use for that land with the (least) impact to the people around it? So, the comprehensive plan can’t work all the time.”
Several residents, particularly from nearby Silverthorn subdivision on McEver, spoke in favor of the proposal.
“We feel like that will be a low-impact business,” said William Baxter, president of Silverthorn’s homeowners association. “After talking to the developer, we think he’s going to build a nice facility and we’re all for that.”
Another opponent, Barbara Englar, said she was concerned about traffic impacts, citing the lack of turn lanes or turn signals at the Lights Ferry-McEver intersection.
Anthony Lynch, an engineer speaking on behalf of the development, spoke to the commission about potential traffic.
“If you put a residential development in there, each home is going to have, on average, 10 trips per day to the road,” he said. “This type of development will be much less than that. You’re probably talking about 50 trips per day (overall) at the most.”
“He’s right about the traffic pattern,” Commissioner Billy Powell said. “The good thing about it is that most of the people who are going to use their boats (will do so) in the middle six months of the year. The other six months, you’re going to have almost no traffic.”