Rezoning requests for a pair of properties near the intersection of highways 11 and 53 in Winder will come back before the city council for a vote later this month after the council postponed decisions on them in December.
The council has scheduled a called meeting for 6 p.m. Feb. 25, ahead of its regularly-scheduled work session that same evening, to vote on a request by Roxeywood Development and Barrow Investment Group, LLC to rezone 49.4 acres at 436 Gainesville Hwy. (Highway 53) to the northwest of the split. The developer proposes to build a 78-lot residential subdivision to be called “Stone Haven” on 42.3 acres and use the remaining acreage for separate commercial parcels. The two separate portions of land would need to be rezoned from single-family low-density residential to single-family high-density residential and neighborhood commercial, respectively.
The council will also vote on a request by Sadruddin Hakani to rezone 1.4 acres at Jefferson Highway (Highway 11) and Amherst Drive at the northeastern corner of the split in order to allow for a convenience store with gas pumps to be built.
The council postponed votes on both requests in December over concerns with how they would mesh with planned construction in the area. A commercial development to the north of the intersection, which will be anchored by Publix, is planned, though Publix has not publicly announced a planned construction date. The Georgia Department of Transportation also is planning a roundabout aimed at improving traffic safety at the split. City administrator Mandi Cody told the council during a work session last week that GDOT’s current plans are to put the project out to bid in August 2022.
The developers on both requests have said they will work with GDOT and the city on final site designs so that they don’t interfere with or create another traffic issue as the result of the roundabout.
The proposed Stone Haven property was part of a much larger proposed project by another developer in 2018 that would have included up to 220 homes on 70 acres, but the council denied that rezoning request, largely over traffic concerns.
“I’m asking for much lower density here,” applicant Tripp Reynolds reiterated to the council at its work session last week, noting that other surrounding residential developments in that area have higher densities.
Reynolds said the plan is to utilize the 1,500 feet of frontage along Gainesville Highway for commercial development, though he had “no idea” who the commercial user or users would be. Reynolds said the commercial lots would be developed and marketed before any buildings are constructed by prospective businesses.
Council members have been generally supportive of the types of homes being proposed for the subdivision but have raised questions about how the commercial parcels might complement the Publix development.
“The (housing) product looks good. My biggest issue and pain with this is the commercial aspect of it,” councilman Chris Akins said. “We feel like we’ve got a great product coming across the street and it’s going to be a top-notch project. My only concern is the unknown here.”
Reynolds said he pictured commercial properties that would “join in” and be similar in appearance to the Publix development and said it would be “detrimental to the city and the property to not utilize the frontage for commercial use.”
“I feel like I’m presenting a really good project for that area,” he said.