As land prep work continues for part of a planned mixed-use project along Ga. 400 North, its developer is now seeking to remedy the exact commercial zoning for the property.
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Developer Kilough Ventures wants 16.2 acres near the corner of Kilough Church Road and Ga. 400 to be rezoned from Commercial Highway Business (CHB) to Commercial Industrial Restricted (CIR), according to an updated application.
The Dawson County Planning Commission recommended approval for the request and a related setback variance at their Nov. 15 meeting. Now, the Board of Commissioners is expected to hear the request at their Dec. 15 voting session, which will begin immediately after the 4 p.m. work session.
On Dec. 19, 2019, Dawson County’s Board of Commissioners approved the rezonings for the development’s 78-acre residential and 40-acre commercial portions. Draft plans included specs for 331 homes and a 175,000-square-foot mix of retail, office and warehouse space.
During the planning commission’s meeting in November, developer consultant Jim King explained that the commercial land north of the power lines had been limited to “some very specific” commercial uses, while allowed uses to the south weren’t limited.
In 2020, Dawson County created the narrower CIR zoning, under which the warehouse use was moved. Due to that, the developer couldn’t go forward with the planned commercial space without requesting another rezoning.
That would be “taking property rights away from the people that had their properties zoned [as] CHB,” King said, referring to a concept known as vested rights.
He added that his client wasn’t looking to change stuff with limitations, only the portion south of the power line that had no limitations before 2020.
The project’s proposal limits the retail north of the power line to much lower-impact uses, and the northernmost entrance was scaled back.
This entrance was the project’s closest to the Kilough-Ga. 400 intersection, according to the December 2019 meeting minutes.
The parkway that would have connected that traffic was removed from plans for safety reasons, and schematics include just two commercial buildings connected to the northernmost driveway, King said at the time.
Much of the project’s stipulations formed as a result of multiple discussions between King, the developer and the Kilough Residential Community Task Force. Because of those conversations, the proposed commercial footage was reduced to the 175,000-square-foot figure, and fully-attached residences, like townhomes, were prohibited in the development.
Kilough Ventures 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, the developer is expected to downplay walls separating the units by hiding them with shrubbery, according to the December 2019 minutes.
Project stipulations also require the completion of a second traffic study before the final plat can be issued, 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.
Similarly, construction traffic is not to use Kilough Church Road for the duration of the project’s development. A 100-foot undisturbed buffer will also be established along Kilough Church Road, and a 50-foot buffer will be maintained adjacent to the homes closest to that roadway.
As well, a 25-foot undisturbed buffer will be maintained in the commercial area until the area is developed.
At the 2019 meeting, King said the project had been through at least three iterations of public hearings and taken into account on the county’s 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.”