Posted: Thursday, February 28th 2013 at 9:25pm
Hall Commission votes for road name change
By Jerry Gunn Staff
GAINESVILLE - Opposition was strong from a business owner, several homeowners, a Chateau Élan lawyer, and the Mayor of Braselton, but Hall County Commissioners cast their final vote in favor of re-naming Friendship Road east of Interstate 985 to Lanier Islands Parkway Thursday night.
It was a narrow second reading vote, 3-2, with no votes from Commissioner Craig Lutz and Chairman Dick Mecum, opposed the name change impact.
“I’m afraid we’re forgetting who we are and where we’re from and the kind of people who came here to begin with to settle this area,” Mecum said.
Lutz motion to change the name from Spout Springs Road to Highway 211 was approved. Then Scott Gibbs said that would be confusing to emergency responders; he motioned to rename the road from Spout Springs to the Interstate.
“That is a disaster waiting to happen because there are so many people that visit this area who are not familiar with Hall County,” Gibbs said. “It is a tourist destination and I think you’re asking for confusion.”
Assistant County Administrator Marty Nix, the former 911 director, agreed.
“Any time you change one stretch of road or have different names for different sections, it can become problematic to a 911 caller and the 911 operator,” Nix said. “In the 911 community we try to discourage name changes for the same stretch of road.”
Vice Chairman Jeff Stowe amended Gibbs motion to delay the name change to July 2015. Gibbs said he preferred January, and then Gibbs, Stowe and Billy Powell voted yes.
Chateau Élan attorney Ab Hayes said the name change was unfair his client, eliminating the ‘level playing field’.
“You are considering changing the name of a road that’s right on top of our property to the name of one of our biggest competitors,” Hayes said.
Braselton Mayor Bill Orr said his city objected to the renaming without the city’s discussion and input.
“We reserve the right to support litigation as our only option if the proposed name change and new road name is bullied through to an affirmative vote,” Orr said.
The only person to speak in favor of the road name change was engineer Bryan Rochester of Rochester and Associates of Gainesville.
“We think the fact of having it named one name is a great thing for Hall County to do,” Rochester said. “The other thing is support of one of the largest employers that we have in South Hall. Lake Lanier Islands has 600 full time equivalent employees, with 70 percent of them residing in Hall County.”
Rochester also pointed out that Lake Lanier Islands is a major property, sales, and hotel/motel tax contributor. He told commission members that with the six lane rewidening for Highway 347, Friendship Road, a lot of property along the road has future commercial potential.
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