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Planning board recommends approval of 52-acre senior community
Senior lifestyle center to include housing, medical facilities, hotel
Senior community design
A proposed mixed use development on Ga. 400 next to Dawson Fine Wine and Spirits, to be called Life Hope Senior Campus, will cater to seniors at all stages with independent through assisted living and memory care as well as on-site medical buildings and commercial businesses. The photo, provided by Jericho Design Group, shows the proposed development with Ga. 400 N to the left. - photo by For the Dawson County News
The Dawson County Board of Commissioners next month will hear a zoning request for 52 acres of land off Ga. 400 northbound that developers have slotted for a mixed use senior lifestyle center.

An application from the developer, Richmond Honan Development and Acquisitions, went before the planning board Feb. 20. The developer is requesting to vary from the property’s original Commercial Planned Comprehensive Development (CPCD) plans to build the mixed use commercial center.

The center will be located just over the Dawson County line, adjacent to Dawson Fine Wine and Spirits and the Highland Pointe at Oakmont subdivision.

The property is currently owned by Jim King, a former county commissioner and current chairman of the Etowah Water and Sewer Authority Board of Directors.

King said during the meeting that the property was originally zoned for commercial use, and that before the recession, a Lowe’s and an additional 250,000 square feet of retail space were planned to go in on the property.

The land is currently under contract by Richmond Honan, an Atlanta-based medical office and senior development platform.
Doug Shaw, the architect of the plans for the center, was also present at the meeting. 

He presented plans for the center, to be called Life Hope Senior Campus, which includes various stages of senior needs. Among the planned developments are a two-story assisted living facility with 130 rooms; 300 independent living residences in a four-story independent living space, loft units above retail space, single family detached homes, 130,000 square feet of medical office space, 31,000 square feet of retail, a 128 room four-story hotel, a chapel, an amenity building, two outparcels for other uses, as well as open space throughout the property.

Senior community pic
Adjacent property owners question Doug Shaw, the architect of a proposed senior community off Ga. 400, about the developer’s plans for the community following a Dawson County Planning Commission meeting Feb. 20. - photo by Allie Dean

Shaw said the developer is ready to begin the process as soon as possible.

“We’re a little bit unusual in the industry because we don’t develop and flip, we develop and hold, so all the assets that are proposed on this particular a permanent investment into the community for Richmond Honan,” Shaw said.

The developers have requested the zoning in order to amend the current site plan. They have asked to increase the maximum building heights from 35 feet to 60 feet to allow certain facilities to be four stories tall; asked to reduce the Ga. 400 setbacks from 100 feet to 75 feet along the northwestern edge of the site; asked to reduce the percentage of commercial to residential from 50 percent and 50 percent; asked for a temporary 10 foot by 10 foot sign at each curb cut along Ga. 400, to be removed once permanent signage is installed; and have asked for one pylon sign to be allowed at each curb cut along Ga. 400 not to exceed 35 feet.

Planning Board member Neil Hornsey asked about the developer’s plans for the hotel.

King said that the developer will construct the hotel themselves, but have no particular user in mind. He also said that county commissioners have indicated they would like a convention center in the hotel, and that Richmond Honan has said they would incorporate that if possible.

The planning board voted unanimously to recommend the board of commissioners approve the request with the stipulations that the developer carry out any intersection improvements as deemed necessary by the Georgia Department of Transportation and that the street system be considered private but built to county standards, in addition to the stipulations that the planning staff recommended.

The planning staff recommended approval of the amendment with the following stipulations: The project should be developed to the standards set forth in the applicant/owner provided letter of intent and master design site plan; that any deviations of intent or plans as set forth in the amendment shall be subject to review by the planning director; and all stipulations of zoning shall be made a part of any plats, plans or permits associated with the development. The stipulations also set maximum square footage for residential and commercial or medical office space.

The staff recommendation also states that the development aligns with the county’s future land use plan.

The application will go before the board of commissioners March 15 for a vote.