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Why a portion of this Oakwood residential development was rejected by Gainesville
City of Gainesville Administrative Building1.jpg

What would have been a tiny Gainesville portion of a much larger subdivision in Oakwood was shot down Tuesday night by the Gainesville City Council.

Southeastern Land Solutions asked the council Dec. 4 to tweak zoning on 1.34 acres off McEver Road and Stephens Road to allow for five single-family homes.

The homes would have been part of Brannon Ridge, a 33-acre, 187-home subdivision that was annexed earlier this year into Oakwood and approved by the Oakwood City Council. Brannon Ridge will be next to Copper Springs subdivision, which is in the city of Gainesville.

“We were originally talking about de-annexing and try to change everything, and I think that made it really complicated,” Southeastern spokesman Eric Johansen told the council, describing the steps leading to the Gainesville proposal.

The area was originally proposed as a small neighborhood retail center and was never developed, said Matt Tate, Gainesville’s planning manager.

Under Southeastern’s plans, residents of the Gainesville portion would have had to travel Hall County and Oakwood roads to access their property. The neighborhood also would have been served by Hall County emergency responders as part of a mutual aid agreement between Gainesville and Hall County.

Also, to address concerns about Gainesville buses reaching school-age children in the neighborhood, the developer would have been required to make the Gainesville section exclusively for people 55 and older.

Councilman Zack Thompson wasn’t sold on the proposal or conditions.

“To me, this doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he said. “They’re going to go in there with conditions that we’re not going to give them any city of Gainesville services and they’re going to be paying Gainesville property taxes. That’s going to be real confusing.”

Thompson went on to say, “I think it’s silly to have to relieve all our services just to be able to get something rezoned residential.”

Mayor Danny Dunagan agreed.

“If I was a homeowner paying city taxes, I’d want city services,” he said.

Councilwoman Ruth Bruner supported the proposal.

“I think it’s a good use of the land,” she said.

Bruner’s motion to approve the request was supported by councilmen Sam Couvillon and George Wangemann but opposed by Dunagan and Thompson.

The motion didn’t pass, however, because it did not receive the required four votes for approval.