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Letter to the Editor: Speculative Development is not Smart Development

Any benefits to our county from the Etowah Village project are all purely speculative and are dependent on investment in, and completion of, ALL phases of this project. Currently, by admission of the project engineer, there is only some investor interest in Phase 1 (which includes a multi-story hotel). This phase may have raised $7-$12million, not the $700 million to $1 billion needed to complete the entire buildout over a 10+ year period. Where or who are these multi-million dollar investors?

To complete the "grand parkway" through to Etowah River Rd. (as part of the final phase of the project?) would be mega expensive but crucial to the success of this development and would also require the blessings of the Corps of Engineers (for the bridge) and Fish and Wildlife for the environmentally sensitive wetlands.

Granting the rezoning for the entire area does not conform to Dawson County's Comprehensive Land-Use Plan. Any variation from this should be predicated by proof of secured investments for ALL phases of the development with sunset clauses and completion bonds required. Additionally, agreement must be secured for the protection of the environmentally sensitive wetlands and conservation of any identified native Indian ancestral sites that this development would impact. Not to do so would risk far larger negative outcomes for our county than just another incomplete project and massive traffic congestion on already increasingly busy roads. It would provide a gateway for similar uncontrolled, speculative developments to follow suit leading to a loss of the very habitats and cultures that make this county desirable and different from Cumming, Alpharetta and Gwinnett unless safeguards to speculative developers are rapidly put in place and adhered to.


Jane Graves

Dawsonville Resident