The Winder City Council is set to consider next week a request to rezone roughly 67 acres east of the Barrow Crossing shopping center and south of Highway 316, which would allow for a large mixed-use, multi-family residential development to be built.

Farm Development, LLP, is seeking to rezone the four individual parcels of land and build up to 300 apartment units and 99 townhomes, according to a preliminary site plan. The city’s planning board recommended approval of the request at its July 21 meeting with a handful of conditions and the city planning staff also recommended approval.

The city council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3, for a work session and is scheduled to vote on the request and other items at its 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4 meeting. The council also called a work session for 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, to discuss the rezoning request and several other zoning and land-use items. 

According to a letter submitted to the city by Shane Lanham of Lawrenceville-based Mahaffey Pickens Tucker, the law firm representing the applicant, the development would be designed as a “walkable” community with a mile-long nature trail and several other amenities and would have a side entrance tied to the shopping center. The primary access point to the development would be off of Carl-Bethlehem Road, and a more detailed analysis on those plans will be needed, according to the city staff’s report. A left-hand turn lane and deceleration lane will be required, according to the report.

The proposed development would fall within the 316 Innovation Corridor in Barrow County’s future land-use map, which lists multi-family housing as one of the recommended uses. The land has two ponds with a “large amount of stream lineal footage segmenting the properties,” the report reads, and it has identified wetland and flood-hazard areas “that would make it difficult to develop into a large-scale commercial or more intensive land use.”

As it has done with similar proposed developments around the county, the Barrow County School System wrote a letter to the city requesting that the units be required to be developed on larger lots to increase the projected property values and help offset some of the “unfunded” costs of educating the additional children.

Lanham wrote in his letter the development would be “upscale” and would attract young couples looking for smaller lots and less upkeep as well as older couples and “empty nesters” looking to downsize.

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