Traffic issues seemed to be the big concern when citizens spoke out about two proposed developments in Lula. Although citizens did cite other issues, including parking an additional 70-100 cars, the increase enrollment at Lula Elementary, and type of tenants who would move into the dwellings.
Citizens spoke on the number of that vehicles drive through Athens Street which is used to access Hwy.51.
“Access would be a nightmare,” according to William Meeks, who presented his comments of opposition via email. He also pointed out that Moon Drive is not equipped for so many vehicles.
During a planning commission public hearing on April 6, Frank Norton Jr., The Norton Agency, Gainesville, explained the plan is to build 36 residential dwellings on 4.08 acres at 5980 Moon Drive (Hwy. 51). The first phase would include 20 to 25 homes.
He compared the development to a village and says they are not planning to open retail shops so tenants can patronize small businesses in the area. Norton explained that potential tenants would be teachers, healthcare workers and engineers coming to work at Kubota.
Norton presented the plans which he said would retain the historic character and tree cover already in place in Lula. Right now, the plan is to build two bedroom/two bathroom homes, but Norton explained it could be modified according to tenant demand which would occur if families seek an interest.
Nearby resident, Ben Gunter, expressed concern about the property turning into a “low income” development.
Norton explained the rent would be $1,100 a month which is just above the current rental average in town. He also encouraged people to visit the other free standing communities that have been developed in the area.
“This is not a low-income property," Norton said. "This is for the average person. There are no subsidies.”
Next, Holly Owens, Owens Property Management, Gainesville, discussed her plans to develop two two-bedroom, two bathroom duplexes and a one bedroom/one bathroom studio at 5277 and 5252 Old Cornelia Hwy. There is an existing concrete building that used to be a store, a residence and a laundromat.
Donna McCall, who lives across from the property, cited the number of accidents that have already occurred in the areas. She also asked about the rental rates.
“I’m concerned about property values,” she said.
Owens said that the rent would be comparable to the Norton project, and the studio would be less. When asked about tenants, Owens explained that her company does background checks noting that the company has other properties as well.
Becky Jarrard, another nearby resident, is concerned about the flood water that already comes into her yard.
Owens said that they will use the current structure, so it should not cause any additional issues.
Planning committee members voted to table these request until next Tuesday, April 13.
In other business the planning committee heard a request from Ryals Brothers Paving to annex the property at 6467 County Line Road into the city of Lula and rezone it to light industrial. There is a cement building on the property which serves as the shop for the company. The planning commission will vote on this request next Tuesday as well.