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City Council approves Highway 9 rezoning request with stipulations, indefinitely tables Perimeter Road request
City hall

During the April 18 meeting of the Dawsonville City Council, council members voted to approve a rezoning request on Highway 9 with several stipulations, and to indefinitely table a second annexation and rezoning request off of Perimeter Road. 

The rezoning application, submitted by Smith Douglas Homes Atlanta LLC, asks to rezone a total of 121.11 acres located off of Highway 9 South from Restricted Single-Family Residential District (R1) to Single Family Residential (R3) to allow for the construction of a new development adjacent to Thunder Ridge. 

The city’s planning commission heard the request on Feb. 14 and recommended denial. Should the council approve the request, the planning commission made several recommendations, including the addition of buffers around the development, not allowing it to exceed 220 lots and a density of 1.82 units per acre, and that the applicant put funds toward a future roundabout to be build at Perimeter Road and Highway 9 South. 

In public hearings held by both the planning commission and the city council, residents of properties near the tracts to be rezoned spoke against the request, raising several concerns including increased traffic, the impact on the school system and the effect on the native flora and fauna in the area in question. 

In response to the public concerns and to the recommendations by the planning commission, the applicant amended the application ahead of the council’s March 21 meeting to help reduce the impact on the area. 

Before the council voted on the request at this week’s meeting, Corey Guthrie, the civil engineer presenting the proposed layout on behalf of the applicant, spoke to the council and described a few of the amendments that the applicant has made since the original proposal in response to the planning commission’s suggestions. 

These amendments included increasing the buffer adjoining Apple Ridge subdivision to a total of 100 feet, with a 75-foot undisturbed buffer and a 25-foot planted buffer, and increasing the stream buffers to a total of 75 feet, with a 50-foot undisturbed stream buffer and a 25-foot impervious setback. 

The applicant also agreed to drop the total number of lots down from 236 to 220, increase the open space from 34 acres to at least 40 acres, and to build the development in a phase construction. The developer would also contribute $1000 per lot towards improvements to the Perimeter Road and Highway 9 South intersection as suggested by the planning commission. 

Before voting on the request, council member Caleb Phillips read through the planning commission’s recommendations and described the house size that would be acceptable to build if the request was approved. 

“A minimum of 20 percent of the homes for the entire development have to be over 2200 square feet, a minimum of 45 percent for the entire development have to be over 2000 square feet, a maximum of 35 percent of the homes for the entire development can be less than 1800 and 20 percent of the homes can be less than 1600,” Phillips said. 

He added that all houses should be at least 1500 heated square feet and that they should all have a brick or stone water table across the front and both sides. 

Phillips made a motion to approve the rezoning request with all of the stipulations described, saying that he feels that this creates a good compromise between the developer, existing residents and the city. 

“Some of us have worked hard on this, talking and trying to make it fair for the neighbors and the community, what’s best for the community, and I think we’ve done that,” Phillips said. “In total I think that’s a good compromise, and I think that’ll be a good product.” 

Council members voted to approve the request with the stipulations discussed, with council member Mark French voting against the request.

Perimeter Road annexation and rezoning request tabled 

Council members also voted to indefinitely table a request submitted by Allen Street Properties, LLC and B & K Turner Family, LLP, which petitioned the city to annex 32.937 acres into the city and rezone it from County Zoning of Residential Sub Rural (RSR) and Restricted Agriculture (RA) to City Zoning of Single Family Residential (R3). 

Under the original application, the developer asked for almost 75 acres to be annexed and rezoned, but amended the application to include just over 70 acres to construct a proposed 124-lot subdivision. 

Most recently, the applicant amended the request again to include only Tract 2 of the original proposal, which is 32.937 acres, to allow for the construction of 65 units with a residential density of 1.97 units per acre, and limited to a maximum number of 75 units at 2.28 units per acre. 

The original application was submitted to the city in August of 2020 and addressed in several public hearings in both the city’s planning commission and the council meetings, and the planning commission recommended denial of the request in September of 2021. 

The city council was originally set to make a decision to approve or deny the request in October of 2021, but the decision has been postponed several times since then due to the applicant or the city still working through details. Because of this, City Attorney Kevin Tallant told the council members that it would make more sense to table the decision indefinitely rather than keep pushing it to the next meeting each time. 

“We’ve been having a situation where we keep delaying this and keep delaying this because of several different issues that we’re trying to get worked out,” Tallant said. “Rather than just keep putting this back on an agenda over and over and over again for it to be tabled over and over and over again, another option the city would have would be to lay this on the table for an indefinite period of time. That would allow us to get all these issues worked out that the city’s been trying to work out for so long, and then through a motion to take it off the table and put it back on the agenda the city could give everybody a very clear picture of when it’s gonna actually be done.” 

Tallant added that the applicants have come to every meeting that the request has been on the agenda for, so tabling the request indefinitely would also keep them from having to attend every meeting just to have the decision postponed. 

Once all of the details have been worked through, the council can vote again to take it off the table and place it on an upcoming agenda and vote on it at that time. 

Council members voted unanimously to table the request indefinitely.