Braselton planners recently gave the initial nod for a multi-family development off of Thompson Mill Rd.
The Braselton Planning Commission voted Sept. 23 to recommend approval of Callicott Holdings' request to rezone 36 acres off Thompson Mill Rd. in the Duncan Corners area. Braselton's Town Council will hold a second public hearing on the request Oct. 10 with a possible vote Oct. 14.
Developers plan to construct a 289-unit multi-family development. Those units will be split between 12 buildings on the property.
The apartments will be located near Thompson Mill Rd., while a large amount of open space — approximately 20 acres — is proposed towards the back of the property.
Project developers are also seeking annexation for a large amount of the land. Those parcels are currently located within Hall County.
Tyler Gaines, with developer TPA Residential, noted they could seek a rezoning in Hall County as an alternative.
Planner Billy Edwards said that, if developed in Hall County, the project could have more units.
Gaines echoed that, adding they could probably get 50 more units if developed in the county instead of Braselton.
“I think if we went the Hall County route, we probably could get a higher and larger density,” Gaines told the commission.
He also added the county has historically been more accepting of apartments than the town.
But Gaines said there's value in being located in the Town of Braselton rather than "near Braselton."
“I think Braselton has a certain name recognition,” he said.
RESIDENTS CONCERNED ABOUT INFRASTRUCTURE
The proposal raised some concerns from area residents — many of whom donned green shirts during the planning meeting.
Two speakers opposed the project, citing concerns with pressure on the infrastructure (from streets to schools).
Resident Joy Basham questioned what impact the project — along with another nearby multi-family development, Noble Vines — will have on the Hall County School District.
She said she spoke with the Hall County facilities director, stating the school system wasn't aware of the project or of Noble Vines. Basham said the increased enrollment could force the school system to use trailers in its area elementary schools.
“They have never experienced the explosive growth that they are now experiencing in this area of Hall County,” Basham added.
Planners ultimately voted to recommend the project be restricted to one-bedroom and two-bedroom units in an effort to reduce the impact on area schools.
FULFILLING A NEED
Attorney John Stell, who spoke for the application, said the development will provide needed housing for the workforce in the area.
Edwards and planning commission chairman Allan Slovin echoed that, citing the need for reasonably priced housing for people who work in the town.
“We have to have more housing for the people who work here at moderate prices,” said Slovin.
Slovin also dismissed comments the town has apparently received about apartment residents.
“We haven’t heard any negatives about people who live in apartments, although we’ve seen some in the correspondence that we’ve received,” said Slovin. “I want to dismiss that right now because we have no basis to say that.”
SENIOR LIVING PROJECT APPROVED
In other business, the planning commission unanimously approved a request from Fountainhead Residential Development, LLC, for a senior living project.
Developers are requesting a change in the planned unit development master plan to allow senior independent living, assisted living and memory care uses.
The project is planned within a 56.6 acre property at the corner of Thompson Mill Rd. and Hwy. 211.