Note: People can follow ongoing commercial construction projects by using the Dawson County government’s online “Commercial Construction Tracker” tool.
People commuting along Ga. 400 just north of the Dawson Village shopping center have likely seen the orange construction signs and barricades dotting the highway.
Land prep work has begun for the forthcoming mixed-use Kilough Point development near the corner of Kilough Church Road and Ga. 400, up from the area of the old Kroger to the smaller roadway.
The project will also include 331 homes and 175,000 square feet of commercial space for retail, office and warehouse usage.
This story continues below.
On Dec. 19, 2019, Dawson County’s Board of Commissioners approved the rezonings for the development’s residential and commercial portions.
With the rezones, the zoning for 78 acres changed from the Residential Agricultural to Residential Multi Family classification. Forty acres of RA land became Commercial Highway Business land for the commercial portion of the project.
During the Dec. 2019 meeting, developer consultant Jim King said he and his client, Kilough Ventures LLC, met multiple times with concerned community members such as the Kilough Residential Community Task Force and amended the application requests, according to the meeting minutes.
Through discussions, King told the board then that the proposed townhomes were removed from his client’s application and the proposed commercial footage was reduced to the 175,000-square-foot figure.
Residential density decreased from 4.62 units per acre to 3.9 units per acre, said task force head Mike Liberatore at the BOC meeting.
Traditional neighborhood or “TND” homes were introduced that would have the porches be on the front of the homes and the garages be in the rear, a prospect King said the task force “felt strongly about.”
As part of the approved stipulations, fully attached townhomes or residential units are prohibited in the development. The developer and the task force both indicated a preference for detached homes, though semi-detached are the required baseline in the RMF zoning.
To meet the zoning requirements, a wall separating the units will make them technically semi-detached, but the developer is expected to downplay that wall with shrubbery to hide it.
King explained that his client’s updated proposal limits the retail north of the power line to much lower-impact uses and said the northernmost entrance had been scaled back. This entrance was the project’s closest to the Kilough-Ga. 400 intersection, where all of the traffic would have been connected with a parkway, according to the meeting minutes.
“For safety reasons, that connection was removed and now only two [commercial] buildings are connected to the northernmost driveway,” King said at the time.
As well, a second traffic study will have to be performed prior to issuance of the final plat, and any recommendations from that study are to be implemented. Suggested traffic fixes include a connection to the former Kroger shopping center, dual left-cut turn lanes approaching and leaving the development and a light signal for U turns.
During his comments to the board, Liberatore expressed lingering concerns over traffic.
“[It] will generate a significant increase in traffic for this stretch of roadway that again is spilling onto Ga. 400 without a traffic signal to help control the available gaps for residents and school buses entering Ga. 400 from Kilough Church Road,” Liberatore said.
He added that moving traffic through the existing shopping center was not the “most viable way” to move a high volume of traffic.
Per the stipulations, a 100-foot undisturbed buffer will be established along Kilough Church Road, and a 50-foot buffer will be maintained adjacent to the homes closest to that roadway. Construction traffic is not to use Kilough Church Road for the duration of the project’s development.
Other commercial stipulations include that that area’s development is to be phased, and fast food restaurants and drive-thru sales are prohibited. A 25-foot undisturbed buffer will be maintained in the commercial area until the area is developed.
“I will say that it’s been a very tedious process,” King said at the 2019 BOC meeting, “but it was a very good process, and I think the end result is something that everybody can be proud of.”
At the meeting, King commented that the agreed-to stipulations “will make the development upscale and [have] higher-priced homes.”
He later said that the project had been through at least three iterations of public hearings and on the Future Land Use Plan.
“The people you’ve appointed to the task force have said this land needs to be multifamily,” King added. “So we’re doing exactly what has always been planned for this property.”