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Letter: Hall County should enforce its comprehensive growth plan
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From left, Hall County Planning Commission Chairman Don Smallwood and commissioners Chris Braswell and Johnny Varner listen to a proposal for new regulations on vacation rental homes in the county during their Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, meeting. - photo by Nick Bowman

On Nov. 5, a proposal for a 279-house development on 121.25 acres was presented to the Hall County Planning Commission. 

There were several local residents that were there and wanted to speak in opposition to this development. Some were allowed, but then things got heated, and the rest were not allowed to speak. 

It was obvious that the decision was already made prior to the meeting. It was approved unanimously.

Now, let’s look at what was approved: 279 homes on 121 acres. By the time you figure in internal roads, protected creek buffers, planned amenities, etc., this equates to roughly 1/10-acre building lots. Many homes in Hall County are as big as these lots would be.  

This is the exact reason that Hall County developed a “Comprehensive Growth Plan” (also required by state law, I believe). 

This comprehensive plan is in place and should be adhered to and enforced by not approving proposals like this one that do not meet the plan guidelines.  

In several areas of this proposal, it is highlighted that this proposal is “not consistent with the Hall County Comprehensive Plan!” But yet, it was approved?

If the Hall County Planning Commission members are not going to adhere to the established guidelines of the existing plan, why do we need this group?  

A county clerk could just rubber stamp the proposals and send on to the county commissioners to handle. 

We realize sometimes minor variances may need to be approved. But, this proposal is so far outside of the plan, it is ridiculous.

The citizens in the surrounding area are upset that this is happening, and citizens in the rest of Hall County should be concerned too! We are not trying to stop growth, but we do not want this type of development moving into our rural countryside, especially since they do not seem to be concerned about traffic impact on small county roads, emergency response capability (internal roads), impact on schools, property values, etc.  

If we continue to allow proposals like this to be approved, we are setting a very dangerous precedent that could allow high-density developments like this (2.3 houses per acre) to start popping up anywhere in Hall County. Developers would anxiously start moving in and building just what and everything they can that does not meet the county’s comprehensive plan. Which is the reason it was developed!

Please, if you do not want something like this popping up near you, please call your county commissioner and ask them to deny this request on Dec. 13 at the Hall County Board of Commissioners meeting. 

Make this and all development proposals adhere to or come reasonably close to the established comprehensive plan!

Joey Johnston

Chestnut Mountain

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