Braselton planners are recommending denial of two large subdivisions proposed on property abutting the town’s commercial corridors at Highways 53 and 211 after public hearings were held Nov. 29 with a sizeable turnout of concerned residents in attendance.

The first application sought to annex and rezone 91 acres on the northern side of the intersection of Hwy. 53 and New Cut Road from agricultural zoning (A-2) in unincorporated Jackson County to high-density residential zoning (R-3) in the Town of Braselton to accommodate 246 detached single-family lots.

Applicant Abernathy Development Company, LLC., proposed the development as a conservation subdivision featuring significant greenspace, conservation areas, walking trails and pocket parks as well as other amenities including a clubhouse, pool area, playground, mail kiosk and a central park space.

Traffic impact on Hwy. 53 and New Cut Road was the concern of nearby property owners who spoke against the application.

“It’s assumed to be a real nightmare on the traffic pattern,” said resident Gail Nealy, who added she already sits in traffic backed up nearly half a mile on New Cut Road waiting to turn onto Hwy. 53.

“I think it’s a great concept, it’s just a tough, tough location,” said planning commission member Stephanie Williams, “to no fault of the land, but simply, the road,” she added.

Despite traffic concerns, the commission unanimously recommended denial of the application due to its inconsistency with the town’s comprehensive plan for the area, which designates half of the property for commercial use and the other half for medium density residential use for smaller dwellings such as townhomes, duplexes or cottages.

The second application, submitted by Pine Grover Partners LP, sought to annex and rezone 24.6 acres from low-density residential zoning (R-1) in unincorporated Barrow County to high-density residential zoning (R3) in the Town of Braselton to accommodate 110 attached single-family townhomes off Beaverdam Rd. near Hwy. 211.

Nearby property owners speaking in opposition to the application asked the commission to keep their community low-density and develop it as such. Other concerns over property values, traffic and crime were also raised by neighboring residents.

Another key issue with the application was its failure to meet the minimum heated floor area requirement.

“What bothers me is the square footage of the homes. I don’t know how you get four bedrooms into 1,200 square feet,” said commission chair Alan Slovin.

The commission made a motion for denial once planning director Kevin Keller confirmed Braselton’s development code requires a minimum of 1,600 square feet of heated floor area in two-story townhomes.

“I think that’s an overriding consideration,” said Slovin.

Braselton’s mayor and council will hear both applications on Dec. 9 and cast its deciding vote Dec. 13.

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