During a public hearing at the Dawsonville City Council’s June 21 meeting, local residents voiced new concerns over an annexation request under consideration by the city council.
The annexation request, made by Allen Street Properties LLC, seeks to annex 70 acres off Perimeter Road in Dawson County and rezone the property from residential sub-rural (RSR) and restricted agriculture (RA) to city single-family residential (R3) to develop a 124-lot subdivision.
In previous meetings, city residents voiced concerns about traffic and congestion. The Dawsonville Planning Commission held public hearings about the request on September 14 and November 9 before voting to deny the request.
According to Planning and Zoning Director David Picklesimer, the request has been amended to address some of the Planning Commission’s concerns, changing the rezoning acreage from 74.85 to 70.808 acres.
“Basically what’s happened is the applicant amended his application reducing the total acreage from 74 acres down to 70,” Picklesimer said. “Once he added the strip of property along Magic Dam Parkway to eliminate any unincorporated island at the intersection of Allen Street and Perimeter Road.”
Attorney Christopher Light of Lipscomb, Johnson, Sleister, Dailey & Smith LLP presented the amended request, saying that in his opinion the acreage is the perfect place for the proposed development.
“The 70 plus acres situated right here and being proposed for R3 is perfectly situated from a pure planning perspective in my opinion to be a single-family development,” Light said. “What you look for in a single-family development is pedestrian access to schools, amenity areas, municipal courts, anything like that that helps reduce impacts on traffic and creates a more live, work and play environment.”
Light also addressed the concerns raised by community members at previous meetings about the new development increasing traffic and congestion in the area.
“Traffic seems to be the biggest concern, and logically the pedestrian access to schools will certainly decrease that,” Light said. “We would have a flashing crossing to Allen Street and create a safer pedestrian access there for the residents of this neighborhood to safely get across Perimeter Road to Allen Street, and the applicant is agreeable to providing a pedestrian access to Dawson County High School so the residents and their children can walk safely to the high school on a paved sidewalk.”
Dawsonville resident Susan Muenchen, whose residence backs up to the property, spoke during the public hearing, saying that she was completely opposed to the annexation when it was first brought up, but has since changed her mind on the matter and is in favor of approving it.
“I was here the first time to speak against it and now I’m here to speak for it,” Muenchen said, “mainly because after coming to the meetings several times and meeting with the Turners and the builders I just had a change of heart.”
Muenchen said that she, like many other Dawsonville residents, doesn’t like to see change in the city she loves, but that after meeting with Turner and talking further about the proposed development she believes it will be a positive way to enhance the community.
“I did go to Turner and heard his heart speaking about how he was born and raised in Dawson County and wanted to honor his parents — he had a big vision for Dawson County to have the subdivision that would enable the firefighters, teachers, whoever to come into the community and be able to walk to school,” Muenchen said. “Let’s move forward with a nice community that meets the needs of the community and keeps Dawsonville looking nice.”
If the annexation is approved and the subdivision built, a potential second access point to the subdivision would be needed in case of emergency. In the potential building plans, Turner Drive, a private road, would be a gated road accessible to emergency personnel only.
Several residents with homes on Turner Drive voiced their opposition to the proposed annexation and said that using their road as an emergency access point would inconvenience them.
“You would be taking away our privacy, security, quality of life and most importantly the safety of the residents on the road and our children,” Turner Drive resident Michelle Hout said. “We know who comes down the road, we know who belongs down the road, we know we have a little hometown road and that’s what Dawsonville is all about.”
Turner personally addressed concerns by Turner Drive residents about the second access point, reiterating that the road won’t be an access point for anyone except emergency personnel.
“It’s gonna be a gate to be used for emergency services only; absent of that no one will go there,” Turner said. “No residential traffic can go up and down the road; we offered that up at some of the community meetings we’ve had cause we wanted to do what’s right for the community.”
The Dawsonville City Council did not make any comment on the proposed annexation.
Council members will take action on the proposal at their next meeting on July 19.