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Zoning approval keeps development moving forward
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A 450,000-square-foot shopping center has received the rezoning it needs to continue moving forward.

At a meeting Thursday, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners voted to rezone 10 acres off Gordon Moss Road and Highway 400 from Residential Agricultural and Commercial Industrial Restricted to Commercial Highway Business.

The developer requesting the rezoning is Parker Blanchard, president of Blanchard Real Estate.

Blanchard is developing what has previously been called the Sembler property 104 acres on Highway 400 for a Power Center that will feature national retail shops and restaurants.

Although Blanchard would not reveal any potential retailers interested in opening up in the development, he did say the name of the shopping center will be called Dawsonville Marketplace.

We are working with some of the regions most accomplished engineers and architects with the intention of completing a well-designed, efficient center that provides the residents of Dawson County with convenient access to much-needed necessity retail and dining options, Blanchard said in his application letter.

Dawson County Development Authority Director Charlie Auvermann commended Blanchard Real Estate for the work it has done so far to develop the project.

This is a $60 million investment in Dawson County, Auvermann said. Currently he (Blanchard) stated it will bring about 200 jobs; our estimation is slightly higher than that. We think it will be closer to 228.

Auvermann estimates at least 49 of those 228 new employees will make their home in Dawson County, which would be another tax revenue boost. Including Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and LOST monies, Auvermann estimates over the next eight years the county could see a tax revenue of $21 million associated with the project.

Youll see at no point does this tax revenue go negative on this, he said. The services that are having to be provided by the county for this project are lower than the tax revenue income that will come from this, even during construction.

Auvermann also said this development will not be a competitor of the North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall.

Its going to be a different project than what you see in the Outlet Mall, he said. Most of the businesses that will come in here will be for local and immediate county area. It will be services that most of us have to drive to Cumming or Gainesville or some place to make those purchases, acquire those items and bring them back.

The board unanimously voted to approve the rezone request.

Auvermann said groundbreaking on the Blanchard project is expected in early 2015.

The board also voted to approve an annexation request from Larry Voss of just over two acres.

Voss requested the property located at 262 Northside Dawson Drive be rezoned from Commercial Office Institutional to Commercial Industrial Restricted.

Voss represents Universal Servo Group, a high tech repair and robotics company that began in Dawson County, but then moved to Forsyth County.

Planning and Zoning Director David McKee said the building Voss seeks for rezoning has been vacant for quite some time.

This building would allow us to expand more into robotics that we have been moving toward in the last year, Voss said.

The board of commissioners unanimously approved the request.