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Letter to the Editor: Why say yes to the Etowah Village development
Opinion

In 2017 a group of Dawson County Residents formed the North Georgia Conservation Coalition.

We did this because we all love the beauty of North Georgia, but change will come as many more people move here.  The mission of our coalition is to inform and educate residents in North Georgia about ways to preserve our beautiful forests and farmlands by learning how to conserve land, air, water, and energy.  We have had several projects so far—perhaps some of you came to our Earth Day Celebration on April 20 at the Dawson Library or have seen our energy saving checklist and plastic pollution flyer checklist.  Implementing many of the items in these two checklists will help with conservation of energy, water, and through creating less waste conservation of energy, air, and land.


The Conservation feels that the Etowah River Development is exactly what we NEED in order to preserve the beauty of our county and North Georgia.  This type of development, called a conservation subdivision/mixed used village, requires that a certain amount of the land be preserved as natural wooded and pasture areas.  In this case 250 acres of the approximate 700 acres of development will be preserved.   Additionally, homes would be clustered in groups which means there are less roads built as well as less water and sewer lines.  The development has approximately 1600 residential units, a hotel, a conference center, a park, and a commercials center with residences above them.  If that same development was built as a regular subdivision with strip malls as at the corner of Dawson Forest and GA 400, it would have used several thousand acres, cutting down all the trees and using up two or three times as much land.  By developing in this manner, more trees and pasture lands will be saved.  Energy will also be saved if they develop with all buildings LEED Certified.  I would suggest the Board require this.


But in addition to that, this type of development cuts down on driving.  With commercial sites included in the development within walking distance of the residential units, many can walk to the hair dresser, the gift shop, the specialty grocery, and the restaurant without having to drive 10, 20 or more miles to get there.  There appears to be ample parking but parking could use less land if they would be required to build low parking decks. 


Several of us went to the Commission meeting 2 weeks ago, and we understand the concerns of the many long-time residents who spoke.   We think the County Commission definitely must look into the flood plain issue and the Native American Indian burial ground issue.  If those issues can be addressed, then we should say yes to this development.  To those concerned about more people and traffic, the fact is that those people and cars are coming to Dawson County whether we want them or not.  Planned development such as the Etowah Village is one way to preserve land, cut down on driving to preserve energy, and preserve the quality of air and water.


Virginia Matteson

North Georgia Conservation Coalition


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