Hoschton planners recently delayed a vote on a preliminary plat for a section of the Twin Lakes development. The commission requested additional information on the pending city impact fees program before making a decision.

The Hoschton Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted Sept. 8 to postpone action on the preliminary plat request for 53 lots on part of the 46-acre section planned for mixed use.

Plat approvals are usually routine actions. 

Several commission members requested additional information about the project — from its impact on the county school system to setbacks and residential fire safety.

But city planner Jerry Weitz advised the commission that those details were handled in the zoning process.

“We have to treat this development as if it has its zoning approval,” said Weitz. “The setbacks have already been established by the PUD zoning conditions and the zoning ordinances…. The questions about facility impact, I recognize your concerns and share those concerns, but the decision basically was made to allow that development and there weren’t many, if any, concessions made about additional police protection or fire protection, other than maybe water and sewer.”

Weitz noted that’s why the city has pursued the development impact fee program.

“As you know, that’s why the city is in a position of trying to pursue a development impact fee program to address the impacts that were not addressed at the time of PUD approval,” said Weitz.

The city has been aggressively pursuing impact fees over the past few months. Money from the impact fees would be used to build infrastructure for recreation, fire and police services.

Kolter, the real estate firm development the project, pushed back on the impact fee idea at an Aug. 31 council meeting and asked for additional time before a final vote. The Hoschton City Council ultimately voted to postpone action.

Attorney Paul Mitchell, with Miles, Hansford & Tallant of Cumming, told planners that Kolter has sought a report from a professor in Arizona analyzing the proposed impact fees. Mitchell said the analysis should be complete before the council is set to consider the impact fees again on Sept. 21.

In his report, Weitz recommended the commission approve the preliminary plat based on several conditions. He added one of those conditions states that the plat is consistent with the comprehensive plan if the impact fee program is adopted.

“If (the impact fee program is) in doubt, then I think you’ve got reasonable doubt to hold your decision-making for the information that the applicant is trying to promise,” said Weitz.

OTHER BUSINESS

Also at its meeting, the commission:

•voted to recommend adding the future land use plan to the town’s comprehensive plan update.

•discussed tiny houses, homes generally under 1,000 sq. ft., which have become increasingly popular across the country in recent years. None have been proposed in the town and no action was taken. The commission discussed concerns with upkeep of potential tiny house properties. Weitz plans to present more information to the commission at a later meeting.

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