The Barrow County Board of Commissioners, at its Tuesday, Oct. 8 meeting, was supportive of a request to rezone property on Highway 211 just outside the Winder city limits to allow for the building of a residential subdivision with at least 220 homes. But the board opted to hold off on a vote for two weeks so the county can iron out a list of recommended conditions.
Commissioners held a public hearing Tuesday on a request by Lawrenceville-based Corridor Development to rezone 86.8 acres of a 96-acre tract at 627 Hwy. 211 NW, Winder, from Agricultural to R-3 Residential and have a special use for a master planned development. Corridor’s plans call for the building of 247 single-family homes at 2.9 units per acre, a scaled-back version of its original vision of a development with 182 single-family homes and 128 single-family townhomes for the total number of 310 units.
Shane Lanham, an attorney representing Corridor, on Tuesday reiterated the company’s belief that the development would be compatible with development around the future West Winder Bypass, which will empty onto Highway 211, just to the south of the proposed subdivision.
“We think the area around the bypass will grow organically, and this (subdivision) will be a large piece in between what we think will be two activity nodes,” Lanham said, referencing the area right around the bypass and at Rockwell Church Road/Carl-Cedar Hill Road to the north.
Chairman Pat Graham noted the rezoning request is the first one for a major subdivision in the county since prior to the Great Recession.
“I think this is a very good (proposed) development…and I just want to make sure it’s going to be a quality development,” Graham said.
“I think it would be a great addition (to the community),” commissioner Rolando Alvarez added.
But what new zoning commissioners would approve remained up in the air Tuesday night. While Corridor is still seeking the R-3 zoning, county staff and the county planning commission in September recommended R-2 Master Planned Development zoning, which would allow no more than about 220 homes when accounting for a 10-percent unit bonus for master planned developments.
The property owner, Chris Maddox, had his request approved by commissioners on Tuesday to change the property’s designation on the county’s future land-use map to Suburban Neighborhood with a maximum of 2.3 units per acre. Dan Schultz, the county’s director of planning and community development, has said the R-2 Master Planned Development zoning would be more appropriate and in keeping with the Suburban Neighborhood designation.
Graham said she believed it would be best to follow that recommendation. Commissioner Joe Goodman suggested the board could grant the R-3 zoning and cap the number of units at 247.
The board will likely vote on the zoning Oct. 22 in a called meeting to be held the same night as its monthly 7 p.m. work session. It has also tasked county manager Mike Renshaw and other staff to consolidate three separate lists of conditions — one each offered by Corridor, staff and the planning commission.
One area of difference between the various parties has been house sizes. Corridor has offered that there be three tiers of sizes with a minimum heated square footage of 1,650 square feet along with a condition that no more than 20 percent of the homes would be less than 1,850 square feet.
Meanwhile, the planning commission’s recommended condition was for single-story homes to be a minimum of 1,800 square feet and two-story homes to be a minimum of 2,200 square feet. BOC members who spoke on the size issue were in general agreement about favoring a diversity of house size.
And while Lanham said the developer would like to have a more passive amenities area centering around the existing lake on the property, to include various walking trails, Graham and others said they would prefer more active recreational amenities be included, such as a swimming pool and basketball/tennis courts.
Graham estimated there would likely be at more than 100 children living in the subdivision at full buildout, adding “kids want active recreation.”
Graham also said whatever the county approves should also come with the condition that there are adequate setbacks to prepare for the eventual widening of Highway 211 to four lanes, which the Georgia Department of Transportation currently has in its long-term plans. The comment echoed concerns raised in September by planning commission member Deborah Lynn, who said the county should be proactive in preventing any property encroachment from the widening.
Commissioner Ben Hendrix said that in general the county should be focusing on the quality of its roads as it prepares for more growth in population.
“I’m concerned about the overcrowding of our roads, the overcrowding of our schools, and it seems like those questions always come up when we’re considering large developments,” Hendrix said. “We need to be more proactive as a board and a government to make sure we’re taking better care of our roads so we can take some burden off that infrastructure.
“We’re not going to stop the growth, and I don’t think should try to stop it.”
In other business Tuesday, commissioners:
•approved the purchase of a Quint fire truck for $985,498. Barrow County Emergency Services chief Alan Shuman said the typical lifespan for such a unit is 20 years.
•approved the purchase of a Fireline rescue pumper in the amount of $505,548.
•approved the purchase of an ambulance for $157,525.
•approved the purchase of a replacement deputy patrol vehicle using insurance funds.
•approved a security lighting package for the Victor Lord Park expansion project from Musco Lighting for $147,000.
•approved the conversion of the state-owned Firetower Road, located to the south of the park expansion area, to an access road to address any potential safety issues that having only one entrance might cause in the event of major tournaments and other large events. The board approve the use of $167,976 in surplus 2018 non-LMIG road project funds to design and construct the road. The upgrades will include the installation of curbs and gutters along a 600-to-800-foot stretch of the road. The county will also create a memorandum of understanding with the State Properties Commission and Department of Natural Resources for use of the road. The access road would not be open to the public at all times, and it would be up the county leisure services department to decide when it should be utilized.
•approved an on-call mowing contract with NGL, of Winder, for $79,736 per mowing cycle. The public works department is requesting two mowing cycles in Fiscal Year 2020. There are typically four mowing cycles in a year, county manager Mike Renshaw told commissioners at their Sept. 24 work session.
•approved a request to rezone 44.19 acres at 1357 Perkins Rd., Winder, for 34 single-family homes.
•approved a request to rezone 19.51 acres at Maddox and Ledbetter roads for 19 single-family homes.
•recognized the Barrow County Detention Center, Maj. Robert White and Sheriff Jud Smith for being named to the 2019 Georgia Adult Literacy Honor Roll.
•reappointed Paul Rice, Susan Litchford and Lynn Hammond to the board of ethics to complete terms that will expire Dec. 31, 2020.
•appointed Caycie Dix to the board of appeals for a term that will expire Dec. 31, 2022.
•met in closed session for about 10 minutes to discuss pending litigation. No action was taken.