The developer of the Suttons Landing subdivision in southeastern Barrow County is planning changes to the mixed-use development that will scrap an assisted living facility that was part of the original site plan, cut down significantly on the number of planned town homes and add more than 40 single-family detached homes.

The county planning commission last week recommended approval of a request by Kerala Gardens, LLC, of Gwinnett County to change the zoning conditions for the subdivision along Highway 53 to the west of Robertson Bridge Road. The changes, if approved by the county board of commissioners at its Feb. 9 meeting, would allow the developer to replace the assisted living facility (which was to include 42 units) with 12 single-family homes and a previously-planned recreation area to the west of the subdivision entrance.

The area behind the existing commercial uses of the development would be changed from 179 town homes to 20 town homes (12 of which already exist) and 29 additional single-family homes. The changes overall would result in a net reduction of 85 dwelling units, John Stell, the attorney for the applicants, said.

The property was originally zoned R-2 for the master planned subdivision in February 2008, and around 20 single-family homes, along with the 12 existing town homes, have been built. But construction has slowed in recent years — primarily, Stell said, as the result of the Great Recession.

The request for the change in conditions drew opposition at the planning commission’s Jan. 21 meeting from a few residents of the subdivision — with concerns ranging from traffic along Highway 53, to a potential hit on property values, to frustrations that the developer, the residents said, has not yet built the recreational amenities security gate/fencing and not consistently maintained the property.

In his rebuttal, Stell said those would be primarily homeowners association issues and not a zoning issue. He said the overall reduction in dwelling units would have a lesser impact on traffic than full buildout of the original plan and said the new homebuilder would build single-family houses ranging from 1,800 to 3,000 square feet and town homes a minimum of 1,600 square feet.

“They’re going to be larger homes of greater value that improve the tax base,” Stell said.

Still, one resident noted the developer remains in control of the HOA, likely until full buildout of the development, which he said limits their sway over property improvements.

Planning commission members were sympathetic to the residents’ concerns but noted they were obligated to only consider the zoning issue.

“To this day, it’s a travesty that these people don’t have what they wanted (more than 12 years later),” said Barry Norton, the lone member of the panel to vote against the request.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business at its meeting last week, the planning commission:

•recommended approval of a request by Ridgeline Land Planning and Manor Restorations to rezone 26 acres between State Route 316 and Tom Miller Road at Evergreen Road in order to build a conservation subdivision with 60 single-family houses and rezone and change the future land-use map for another 1.7 acres in order to build 9,700 square feet of office space. That request is also scheduled to be voted on Feb. 9 by the BOC. 

•voted David Dyer as the board’s chairman for its 2021 meetings. Ronnie Morrow had been serving as chairman. Deborah Lynn will be the vice chair.

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