If funding is approved, Dawson County will have its first affordable senior living community in 2014.
A request by the developer, TBG Residential, to rezone a 10.30-acre parcel was approved at the June 6 meeting of the Dawson County Board of Commissioners.
Rezoning was a first step in the projects process.
Farmington Forest, a 56-unit development, would be located on a vacant parcel across from Tractor Supply Company on Highway 53, less than one mile from Walmart, Home Depot, several shops and restaurants and the North Georgia Premium outlet mall.
Zoning on the parcel was changed from Residential Agricultural (RA) to Residential Multi-family (MF).
"There's nothing in Dawson County like this," said TBG President Kevin Buckner, who has been with the family-owned company since 1983. "And, based on our market study, there is a huge need for it."
Dawson County Planning and Development Director David McKee agrees.
The development would be a unique project for senior citizens with lower incomes, he said.
Seniors earning $35,000 or less are qualified to apply for residency, according to Buckner. Rents would average $600 a month.
TBG has applied for funding from the Department of Community Affairs, which two years ago funded Farmington Woods a 72-unit affordable housing complex located on Perimeter Road in the City of Dawsonville. The complex is scheduled to open early this fall.
Both projects have income qualifications.
Georgias Department of Community Affairs (DCA) operates a host of state and federal grant programs and serves as the states lead agency in housing finance and development. DCA has been recognized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for excellence in administering funds in the Tax Credit Assistance Program.
TBG Residential would rely on federal tax credit dollars.
Developments funded by DCA also are monitored for 15 years to ensure they continue to provide safe and affordable housing, according to DCAs website.
TBG Residential has completed senior living projects in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa, Ala. Farmington Farms would be their first senior project in Georgia.
Buckner noted that he would not know if funding is approved until December. And, he added, groundbreaking on Farmington Farms likely would happen in May or June 2014.
Im never confident about funding, Bucker said. Theres a lot of opportunity out there and a lot of smart developers who put together good projects like we do. But, right now is a great time to apply, and Dawson County is a great location. A lot of seniors still work, and this puts them close to Highway 400.
The two-story complex would have ground level entrances and no stairs or elevators. Amenities would include a community clubhouse, workout equipment, and an outdoor pavilion and grills.
Dawn Pruitt, director of the Dawson County Senior Center on Highway 9, said shes excited about the potential for the project.
Anytime we can serve more seniors, Im all for it, she said. Having new faces at our center brings in new energy and new ideas.
Pruitt said she is already looking at transportation to help get seniors to her center and to their doctors appointments and shopping.