Rezoning requests for proposed subdivisions will be on the agendas for both the Dawsonville Planning Commission and the Dawson County Board of Commissioners at their public meetings next week.
The Dawsonville Planning Commission will meet Monday, Sept. 12 starting at 5:30 p.m. in the upstairs G.L. “Pete” Gilleland Council Chambers of City Hall, located at 415 Ga. 53 East. Just like their county counterparts, the Dawsonville planning commissioners have the option of casting a vote to recommend either approval, denial or to table the matter before it would proceed to a City Council hearing.
The Board of Commissioners will have the chance to decide on rezonings for two proposed subdivisions in southern Dawson County on Thursday, Sept. 15. Their voting session will immediately follow the 4 p.m. work session.
BOC meetings are held in the second-floor assembly room of the Dawson County Government Center, located at 25 Justice Way in Dawsonville. People can also watch the voting session’s live stream on the Dawson County Government’s Facebook page
Proposed Dawsonville subdivision
Jim Chapman Communities has asked to have four parcels totaling 33.98 acres rezoned for a 195-unit apartment complex near the intersection of Ga. 53 and Perimeter Road, according to city planning documents.
The complex would have a density of 5.74 units/acre. The three-acre property known as J.S.W. Gee’s Corner at the corner of Ga. 53 and Perimeter Road would need to be annexed into the city, according to the developer’s application.
To the west of the land for the proposed project is the Sweetwater Preserve subdivision, and to the southeast across Perimeter Road is Farmington Woods.
About 70 percent of the units would be two bedrooms, with the remaining 30 percent comprised of three-bedroom units, the application stated. The developer expects to include single-car garages and additional parking areas throughout the residential community.
“Smaller homes tend to deter large families, and instead appeal to singles, young couples without children and working professionals,” the developer’s Vice President of Land Acquisition, Carter Richardson, wrote in an application letter.
The new complex would be based on the same concept as The Cottages of Dawson Ridge that Jim Chapman Communities built last year about 5.5 miles away on Lumpkin Campground Road in Dawson County.
The need for this type of housing is proven,” said Richardson, “and JCC feels this property is a great location to serve this area and will have a beneficial economic impact to the retail services in Dawsonville.”
Dawsonville planning staff have recommended stipulations for a no-access easement adjoining the Ga. 53 East and Perimeter Road frontage boundary, as well as a five-foot sidewalk approaching Sweetwater Preserve.
Other suggested stipulations include a dedicated left turn lane from Perimeter Road into the development and the donation of funds for future intersection improvements at Perimeter Road and Ga. 9 South.
Planned Grizzle Road neighborhood
One of the county rezoning requests is a proposed 332-home neighborhood at Grizzle and Hanging Dog roads.
That rezoning application has not been withdrawn from the BOC agenda.
The request previously came to the Dawson County Planning Commission at their Aug. 16 meeting, where they recommended denial in a 3-0 vote. The Dawson County Board of Commissioners can vote to approve, deny or table the application.
Applicant D.R. Horton has requested a rezoning of 333 acres from Residential Sub-Rural to Residential Planned Community. The development’s concept plan shows two points of entry along Grizzle Road and amenities such as a junior Olympic pool, kid’s pool, tennis courts and a clubhouse.
Developer consultant Jim King, who spoke at the Aug. 16 meeting on D.R. Horton’s behalf, previously told DCN that the projected price point for the homes is entry-level or around $350,000.
County planning commissioners and area residents shared concerns about the proposed neighborhood’s density and the potential impact on traffic given the jagged shape of Grizzle Road and speeding concerns. They also recognized the property’s proximity to the Etowah River, with Chairman Jason Hamby calling the land “environmentally sensitive” and agreeing that any water erosion and runoff from it “would be a concern of all Dawson County citizens.”
At the planning commission meeting, King called the request for 332 units “justified” and pointed out that his client’s proposal wouldn’t be any more dense than many surrounding properties.
“Today’s families–at least all of the national builders I work for–everyone’s looking for smaller lots,” King said about lot size. “They don’t want to maintain the larger lots anymore. The majority of what my engineering firm designs nowadays are 50 and 60-foot lots.”
One of the planning commission’s suggested stipulations was that a minimum of 140 acres of the project “be preserved in perpetuity as [an] undisturbed conservation area.”
King confirmed that his client is additionally willing to do a conservation easement to that effect, but because approval was not recommended, that stipulation was not put into place.
However, the Board of Commissioners could add that condition if they decide to approve the rezoning request.
King acknowledged the need for traffic improvements at Dawson Forest and Grizzle roads. He said his client was amenable to a proposed westbound right-turn lane, eastbound left-turn lane and a left turn-only lane and a shared through/right-turn lane separating the southbound approach.
Resident Tonia Bagwell went further by suggesting that if the rezoning be approved and
the project commences, Dawson Forest Road should be expanded to four lanes, and Grizzle Road should be straightened.
Proposed Lee Castleberry Road subdivision
Flowery Branch-based company Stark Land Development has requested a rezone for
152 more residences in a proposed neighborhood along Lee Castleberry Road, near Ga. 400.
At their Aug. 16 meeting, the Dawson County Planning Commission voted 3-0 to recommend approval for a request to rezone two parcels totaling 25.35 acres off of the roadway, which sits between Stacie Lane and Lumpkin Campground Road.
The proposed rezone from Residential Agricultural to Residential Multi-Family would pin the neighborhood’s overall density at about six units per acre, according to planning documents.
The development would include 160 townhomes and 40 single-family, semi-detached houses, or a total of 200 residential units mixed together, developer Billy Stark said on Aug. 16.
The planning commission’s vote follows the planning commission’s recommendation and the Board of Commissioners’ ultimate decision this past October to approve the developer’s requested rezone for a proposed 48 townhomes at the corner of Stacie Lane and Lee Castleberry Road. That fall vote was a divided 3-1 decision, with District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett opposing the measure.
In terms of traffic, two access points are shown on the development’s conceptual plans. Sidewalks and a linear park are part of the proposed improvements on Lee Castleberry Road between its intersection with Lumpkin Campground Road at the new roundabout and Ga. 400.
Other planning recommendations include the widening of Lee Castleberry Road, an eastbound deceleration lane going into the development and turning lanes off of the roadway.
However, area resident Carol Weathers pointed out that no red light was planned thus far for the intersection of Ga. 400 and Lee Castleberry Road. Weathers explained that the traffic would make it difficult to enter and exit her property just off of the state highway.
“Somebody’s going to get hurt there sooner or later if there’s not a light not put in there, especially with all the homes and people that are going to be moving in there,” Weathers said.
During the Aug. 16 meeting, Stark acknowledged that even with the traffic challenges, his company’s land along Lee Castleberry Road was the right place for the proposed subdivision.
“Being on the far south side of the county and this close to Ga. 400, we think this is really smart growth,” Stark said. “It’s surrounded by all of these exact uses and all of these exact zonings.”