Reaching a consensus opinion that the proposal doesn't fit with adjacent properties, Braselton planners recommended against a rezone for a large rental development along Hwy. 124.
The Braselton Planning Commission voted 5-0 Monday (Aug. 23) to recommend denial of a request from Lyons Group Acquisitions, LLC, to rezone 32.51 acres to multi-family residential for 219 rental units. The property, situated between Hwy. 124 and Davis St., is currently zoned R-1 and sits between other R-1 zoned properties.
“I like the development as a multi-family; I just don’t like it on this piece of dirt,” planning commission member Keith Kloiber said.
Those in attendance who wore red shirts to signal opposition to the project applauded after the planning commission made its recommendation. Lyons Group’s request will go to the Braselton Town Council in September for a final decision.
Lyons Group proposes a mix of stand-alone and duplex-style residences for this development. Braselton’s planning staff placed 10 conditions on the proposal, including one that would limit the number of units to 191.
Included in this proposal are some two-floors units with under-dwelling garages. Mike Price, representing Lyons Group, said no more than 20 percent of the residences would have two stories.
Units would range between one, two and three-bedrooms with a price range between $1,500 (one bedroom) to $2,500 (three bedroom). Lyons Group requests a minimum of 750 square feet, instead of 800 feet, for one-bedroom lots.
Price said these units are typically rented by cross-section of people: young singles, young couples, those who are divorced or retired and couples with kids no longer at home, as well as couples with children.
The development would have 25-foot buffers and 40-foot setbacks around the perimeter, which Price said is “more than you typically get” compared to a single-family development.
Access points would be located on Hwy. 124, Pinecrest Ln. (where a curb cut already exists) and Davis St. All three entry points would be gated.
Planning staff added a condition stipulating that a road connecting the two areas of this property — which are bisected by a stream — be installed. Lyons instead proposes a multi-model pedestrian walkway, including a bridge, between the two sections of the development.
Price fielded questions from planning commission members about the proposal — sufficient parking, traffic concerns, golf cart accessibility and the request for 750 square-foot lots were among the issues discussed — before four residents spoke in opposition to the project. The speakers’ objections included concerns about traffic and traffic safety, guarantee of the stated rental prices, parking and the contention that the project doesn’t fit the surrounding area.
“Our feelings are there’s no need for this type of development in this area,” resident Lee Baker said. “It’s surrounded by residential, which is R1 through R3.”
Price contended that the project, which calls for 5.9 units per acre, meets the requirement for medium density under Braselton’s comprehensive plan.
Still, some planning commission members expressed their reservations about where the project is planned.
Chairman Allan Slovin said he didn’t have a problem with the proposal, but the location.
“When you compare this to a multi-family (development), it looks great,” he said. “It’s really a great concept. My problem is where it is when it really comes down to it.”
Similarly, Stephanie Braselton Williams said she liked the plans presented by Lyons, but called it a “very difficult project” to place in between two single-family residential areas, pointing to the Keys Crossing subdivision and Pinecrest Ln.
Kloiber said he didn’t think the development aligned with the spirit of the town’s comprehensive planning regarding medium-density residential areas, despite meeting the unit-per-acre requirement (5.9). His reasons included the project not being a mixed-use development.
The Braselton Town Council will consider Lyons Group’s request at a Sept. 9 public hearing at 4 p.m. It will then vote on the matter on Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.
In a separate matter, Abernathy Development Company, LLC, has postponed a public hearing before the planning commission to request a rezone for a proposed 322-lot single-family residential community on 91 acres located at Hwy. 53 and New Cut Rd.
Abernathy requests a residential (R-3) zoning for this proposal, which includes both attached and detached single-family dwelling units. The land is currently zoned agricultural.