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Posted: Thursday, February 20th 2014 at 9:35pm

Hall Commission approves big Ga. 365 development

By Marc Eggers Staff
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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Greg Burrell
GAINESVILLE After being tabled and reworked for several months, the Hall County Commission gave unanimous approval Thursday night to a rezoning request to allow for a mixed-use development on the east side of Highway 365.

Sited on just over 475 acres near Chiplan Road, the project when completed will include 186 single-family homes, 310 apartment and town homes, and over half-a-million square feet of commercial and office space.

As you can imagine, a complex of that size needs a lot of infrastructure, particularly sewer...but so does the entire Ga. 365 corridor, for that matter.

Commissioners have long wrestled with providing sufficient sewer service along that rapidly growing corridor, which includes the Gateway Industrial Centre. In fact, lack of waste water capacity is what kept the above mentioned development from being approved in previous visits before the Commission.

But a symbiotic solution seems to have been reached

The developers of the 476-acre property, Barker Street LLC, have agreed to provide Hall County with two acres of land within the complex for a pump station. That will allow the County and the developer to install a pump station that can handle over 700,000 gallons of waste water daily, meeting not only the needs of the development, but future needs for Hall County as the Ga. 365 corridor continues to grow.

Patrick Clark, representing Barker Street LLC, told Commissioners that he and his staff had met with neighboring property owners and had resolved their concerns, including setbacks of over 200-yards from property lines in certain areas.

Bordering property owner Lee Hemmer even spoke to confirm that status. "We have the farm this is just south of the proposed development...if it were up to us it would remain as green space...but we have been working with Barker Street...and we feel like this is going to be a quality development and we applaud their plans...and we don't really have an issue with it at this time."

The only individual speaking in opposition of rezoning approval was Gregg Burrell who lives on Simpson Road, to the east of the proposed development.

Burrell's concern was over-development. He pointed at several nearby communities and subdivisions that appear to have stalled in terms of building, each with numerous vacant lots. "I applaud a landowner's ability to do what they want with their land. I'm a landowner. Our concern is too much, too soon."

Burrell said people often compare things in Hall County to Atlanta. "My concern is I don't want us to be like Detroit, with all the vacant properties," Burrell said.

As the Commission began to discuss the request, Commissioner Billy Powell wanted to address Burrell's concerns. "You made some good comments and good observations, but, unfortunately, that's not a set of criteria we can use in approval or denial. Every project has to stand on its own."

The Board of Commissioners agreed and gave unanimous approval for the rezoning.

They also unanimously approved beginning the design and bid process for building a pump and lift station on the designated two acres provided in the Barker Street development.

Afterwards, Powell said the timing of the Barker Street request and the approaching April, 2015, commitment to have sewer service in place for the Gateway Industrial Park gave the county a great opportunity to meet that deadline.

"With good luck and timing," Powell said, "Barker Street came along with their project and gave us the added incentive to go ahead and invest that extra $671,000 to put it (the pump station) on their side of the road (Ga. 365)."

"Hopefully, that cost will be offset from their 'tap' fees...and it puts us in a much better situation for growth on that 365 corridor," Powell added.
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