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Friday February 12th, 2016 9:39PM

Planning Commission votes against name change for Friendship Road

By Bill Johnson
GAINESVILLE -- Hall County's Planning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend denial of a request to change the name of Friendship Road to Lanier Islands Parkway.

Hall County Government initiated the proposal that would have changed the name of a 20-mile stretch of Friendship Road (SR 347) from I-985 east to its terminus at Old Winder Highway, hoping to drive traffic to Lake Lanier Islands, an economic engine for the county.

But Planning Commission Chairman Don Smallwood said he received a letter with more than 400 signatures and just as many phone calls objecting to any name change.

Braselton Mayor Bill Orr was one who expressed his opposition in a letter addressed to the Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners.
Orr pointed out that a portion of the road is located within the town of Braselton, home of Chateau Elan Winery and Resort.

"Chateau Elan has notified the Town of Braselton that it objects strenuously to having a road terminating near its entrance named for another resort and we understand and echo their concerns," Orr's letter stated.

During Tuesday's meeting, Jim Cornwell spoke on behalf of Chateau Elan saying there is a question of whether Hall County has the legal right to name the Highway.

"Highway 347 is on dirt owned by the state of Georgia," he said. "The rights of way are owned by the state of Georgia. Hall County doesn't maintain that road and has no ownership interest. Yet there seems to be this movement to let Hall County decide what the name of the road should be."

A total of 13 area residents, some whose families have lived along Friendship Road for many generations, rose to speak against the change. Only two people spoke in favor of it.

In explaining his opposition, Smallwood said, "You've got to have concern for the folks. Personally, I also think this was a little far-reaching."
The issue now goes before the Board of Commissioners for a first reading on Feb. 14.
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