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City will hold public hearing on 40-acre Howser Mill development March 18
City hall

A rezoning and variance request for a 172-unit development proposed near the corner of Howser Mill Road and Hwy. 53 will go before the Dawsonville City Council March 18 for a public hearing.

The planning commission picked up the requests again Monday night after tabling the applications Feb. 11, and voted 3-1 to recommend denial of both applications, with planning commission member Ken Goines opposed to the motion. 

Jim King with Ensite Civil Consulting filed the requests on behalf of the property owner, asking for a rezoning of the 38.58-acre tract of land at 592 Hwy. 53 West from R-3, or single family residential with a density of three units per acre, to RPC, or Residential Planned Community.

The maximum density allowed in an RCP zoning is 4 units per acre, and King has also requested a variance to allow an increased density of 4.5 units per acre in order to develop 31 quadraplexes and 48 townhomes marketed toward seniors.

The development would also include amenities including a clubhouse, Bocci court, pickleball court, and outdoor patio and walking trails.

According to a letter written Feb. 1 by city zoning staff, the parcel was rezoned in 2004 from R-2 to R-3 with no stipulations, which means the property owner could build a 114-lot subdivision under the current zoning.

The city staff recommended approval of the requests based on several factors including the fact that the developers could have asked for a zoning of R-6, which would allow 228 units, but “at the request of the city” have asked for a zoning that will have less density and “provide for more quality controls on the development.”

“In essence the applicant is sacrificing the total number of units that the property can yield in order to give the city a better product,” the letter states.

Several residents of the nearby Howser Mill Subdivision attended the public hearing Feb. 11, and one main concern was increased traffic at the already dangerous intersection of Hwy. 53 and Howser Mill Road.

Resident Randy Davis asked if there were any plans for a traffic light at the intersection.

King said that the entrance on Howser Mill Road would be for emergency use only, and that emergency personnel only would have an access code to the gate. The main entrance will be located on Hwy. 53.

The city council will hear the rezoning and variance beginning at 5:30 p.m. March 18 in the second floor meeting room at city hall, located beside the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.