During the Oct. 3 meeting of the Dawsonville City Council, the council held a public hearing regarding a proposed annexation and subsequent rezoning of 33.98 total acres of land off of Perimeter Road to allow for the construction of 195 rental units.
According to the application, Jim Chapman Communities, Inc. is asking to annex three acres of land into the city limits and to then rezone that acreage and an additional 30.98 acres from R1 (Restricted Single Family Residential District) to R6 (Multiple Family Residential District).
Should the property be rezoned, the developer is then proposing the construction of 195 apartment units with a density of 5.74 units per acre.
The city’s planning commission recommended denial of both the annexation and rezoning requests following a public hearing during its Sept. 12 meeting, saying that the proposed project would not support the city’s comprehensive plan.
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In his presentations to both the planning commission and the city council, Jim Chapman, owner of Jim Chapman Communities Inc., explained that his goal is to build a development similar to The Cottages at Dawson Ridge, which is located at 500 North Lumpkin Campground Road in Dawson County. The biggest difference, he explained, would be that the proposed new development in the city would be a gated community.
Each of the units would have the master on the main and at least a one-car garage, and the community’s amenities would include a clubhouse, pool and dog park, Chapman said in his presentation.
The Cottages at Dawson Ridge, he said, are comparable to the goal for the new development. The Cottages consist of two bedroom, two bathroom, one car lots which are 1,025 square feet and currently rent for $1,992/month; three bedroom, two bathroom, one car lots which are 1,421 square feet and currently rent for $2,233/month; and three bedroom, two and a half bathroom, two car lots which are 1,466 square feet and currently rent for $2,350/month.
Chapman added that, in Dawson Ridge, there is an average of 1.95 occupants per unit. According to statistics that have been updated since the planning commission’s meeting, the average age is 41 years old, 57.8 percent of occupants are single and the average income per door is $182,560, he said.
During the meeting, council members asked several questions of Chapman, including asking him about the potential influx of new students that building so many new apartments could bring to the school system.
“The units are expensive; this is not low-income housing, section 8 affordable — these are high-end units,” Chapman said. “They’re small and they’re mostly occupied by single ladies or older couples and we just don’t aim our marketing and who we attract just aren’t families with school-age children.”
Council Member Will Illg asked Chapman why he is proposing building another development like The Cottages at Dawson Ridge only a few miles away from the first development.
“I could build five of these kinds of communities in a five-mile radius of that one and every one would fill up; there’s that much demand to be in a wonderful place like this,” Chapman said.
Illg also asked Chapman why building a development with units to rent would be better than building a development with units to buy.
“Think about who I’m saying are my demographic or who ends up renting from me,” Chapman said. “A lot of the ladies like that who are single have either owned before or really frankly they want to live in a gated community and they don’t want to mow their grass and they like the amenities and they don’t want to maintain their unit, so they’re renting by choice. On the other side, the active adults and seniors… would much rather not have to maintain a home. We are not attracting renters who are renting because they have no other choice, we’re attracting renters who are renters by choice economically.”
No members of the public came forward to speak against the requests during the public hearing.
The city council is expected to make a decision on the annexation and rezoning requests at its next meeting on Oct. 17.