A 23-lot subdivision proposed for Mt. Vernon Road in the north end of Hall County received the go-ahead from the Hall County Commission Thursday night, but not before neighbors in the area issued emotional pleas for commissioners to deny the project.
The proposal for the 25.62-acre lot had already received approval from the Hall County Planning Commission on Aug. 20, although planning board members added a condition to the request to ensure all homes in the subdivision would have at least 2,000 square feet of heated floor space. Developer Kent Henderson asked county commissioners to negate that condition, which they did, changing the minimum square footage to 1,800 square feet.
About 30 people showed up to protest the development because of the density of the project.
Brad Puryear told commissioners he and his neighbors did not object to others moving to the area, but they were concerned about an R-1 development in an area where other homes were zoned R-1L. Puryear told commissioners he and his neighbors were simply trying to protect the rural landscape of the area, and they were unhappy that the developer had characterized them as "elitists" at last month's meeting of the Hall County Planning Commission.
"At the last meeting, it was the developer who said 'the people who live around here are a bunch of elitists and they don't want common folks living around here.' I know that upset everybody who's sitting out here," Puryear said. "[In my neighborhood] I've got the fireman, three doors down I've got the field technician for a railroad company, and then I've got a nurse, a school teacher...there is nothing elite about where we live."
Nearby resident Brandon Garrett echoed Puryear's sentiment, saying he bought the piece of property where he lives because he and his wife wanted to live in a rural area.
" Everything around me is zoned R-1L," Garrett said. "I love my neighborhood, I love having space...if I wanted neighbors squeezed up against me, I'd move to Flowery Branch."
Garrett also said he was concerned that if commissioners approved the subdivision with R-1 zoning, they would set a precedent for other available property in the Mt. Vernon area, thus allowing for additional congestion.
Before the commissioners voted on the request, District 2 Commissioner Billy Powell explained to those in attendance that the commission could not legally change the R-1 designation on the application to the lower-density R-1L; that change would require the developer to withdraw his request and restart the process.
Ultimately, Commissioner Scott Gibbs added conditions of minimum square footage of 1,800 sf, increasing buffers to 25 feet, no vinyl siding for the homes and no planting of Leyland cypress on the lots. Commissioners approved the application unanimously.
Henderson told commissioners he plans to set the selling price for the homes between $350,000 and $450,000.
APPLICATION FOR THOMPSON BRIDGE ROAD SUBDIVISION WITHDRAWN
A developer who asked for an application for a 136-lot subdivision on Thompson Bridge Road at Price Road to be tabled last month has withdrawn the application altogether.
DR Horton, Inc. had filed an application to rezone a 48.35 acre tract from Planned Commercial Development (PCD) and Planned Residential Development (PRD) to Planned Residential Development (PRD) only. The request was tabled on August 9; it was withdrawn Thursday night. County planning staff did not offer a reason for the withdrawal request.