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Dawsonville City Council tables vote on Highway 9 rezoning request until April
Request would allow for construction of a new development adjacent to Thunder Ridge
City hall

During the March 21 meeting of the Dawsonville City Council, council members heard amendments to a rezoning request off of Highway 9 which would allow for the construction of a new development adjacent to Thunder Ridge, and voted to table a decision on the request until the next council meeting on April 18. 

The original request, which was presented to the Dawsonville Planning Commission on Feb. 14 and the Dawsonville City Council on March 7, was made by Smith Douglas Homes (SDH) Atlanta LLC and asked to rezone two tracts of land totaling just over 121 acres from R1 district (Restricted Single Family Residential District) to R3 districting (Single Family Residential District). 

According to the initial request, the tracts of land, which are adjacent to the south of the Thunder Ridge development off of Highway 9 South, would be rezoned to allow for the construction of 236 lots with a density of just under two lots per acre. The proposed homes would have a minimum of 1,500 square feet, and the development would include open space and amenities for residents. 

In public hearings at both the Feb. 14 planning commission meeting and the March 7 city council meeting, dozens of people who live near the land came forward to voice their concerns on the impact the proposed development could have on their homes, their property values and their way of life. 

The main concerns voiced by residents included the added traffic the development would bring to Highway 9, the impact on the school system and harm coming to the native plants and animals in the area. The Dawsonville Planning Commission voted unanimously on Feb. 14 to recommend denial of the request. 

In this week’s city council meeting, Planning and Zoning Director David Picklesimer informed the council that the applicant has added the application to help reduce the impact to the area. 

“They’ve reduced the number of lots down to 220 which will be a density of 1.82,” Picklesimer said to the council during the March 21 meeting. “They’ve increased the buffer adjoining Apple Ridge subdivision from the city-required 20 for buffer to a total of 100 feet, they’ve also said that they would increase the stream buffers to a total of 75 feet and they said that they would build the development in a phase construction.” 

According to the amendments to the application, the south side of the development adjoining Apple Ridge subdivision would include a 75-foot undisturbed buffer and a 25-foot planted buffer, and the stream buffer would include a 50-foot undisturbed stream buffer and a 25-foot impervious setback. 

In light of the new amendments, Dawsonville Mayor Mike Eason suggested to the council that the vote be tabled until the next council meeting to allow the council members time to review the new maps of the proposed development and to talk further with Picklesimer and other staff before making a final decision. 

Council Member Mark French made the motion to table the vote, agreeing with Eason that allowing a little more time for review would be beneficial. 

“I think that would be a wise idea to do, that way also the residents can see if they have further input,” French said. “It may change their minds, it may not change their minds, but I think we should definitely afford them the opportunity to see what’s being presented before us this evening.” 

Council members voted unanimously to table the vote on the rezoning request until the next council meeting, which is scheduled for April 18 at 5 p.m.