GAINESVILLE - Despite hearing a number of concerns from residents in the south end of the county, the Hall County Commission voted unanimously Thursday night to approve a large apartment complex development on Spout Springs Road at Hog Mountain Road.
The project, which encompasses just over 29 acres, would include construction of 352 apartment units and some commercial development, according to developer KHTW. Ed Myers, an engineer representing the developer, said the project was valued at $14 to $18 million.
Opponents, many of them wearing red to show unified opposition to the project, spoke to commissioners about their concerns, most of which involved traffic on already-congested Spout Springs Road and additional strain on schools in the south Hall area.
Kim Grennan, a teacher at Flowery Branch High School, urged commissioners to visit the school to witness for themselves the overcrowding.
"If we keep adding, we cannot change the size of our cafeteria, we cannot change the widths of our hallways," said Grennan. "We are already at capacity and your estimate of 100 students seems very low."
In his statement to commissioners, Myers pointed to a study that showed the impact on the schools in the area would be 102 students.
Resident Ed Asbridge, who had spoken to commissioners about his concerns over traffic impact, said after the meeting he was not surprised by the commission's approval of the project.
"It was expected," said Asbridge. "Usually, they don't go into these things without the votes. I would have really liked to have seen [this project]in Flowery Branch, as opposed than Hall County. I'm hoping they don't give a lot of concessions in taxes, sewers and all that. I hope they don't give away the farm."
Commissioner Craig Lutz, in whose district the development will be built, made the motion to approve the plan with conditions above and beyond what the county planning staff had recommended.
Myers said he understood why the additional conditions were needed, and he noted it will be some time before ground is broken on the project.
"They are good conditions, and I think they're good for the area, so we're going to work with that and get a good project for south Hall. We're not trying to come and tear up the community or anything like that. We're here to do a good project."