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Monday August 19th, 2019 2:16AM

Hall County Commissioners okay 233-lot subdivision but with questions about dual-county homes

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter

GAINESVILLE – Final approval was given by the Hall County Commission to develop “Trinity Falls”, a 233-lot subdivision along Friendship Road in the southern portion of the county near Braselton. 

The biggest obstacle, however, to granting the go-ahead at Tuesday evening’s commission meeting wasn’t the objection of neighbor’s living nearby (that surfaced before the Hall County Planning Commission last month), rather the challenge arose out of the fact that 217 of the lots are in Hall County and 16 are in Gwinnett County, with seven of the lots being in both counties.

In essence, a homeowner could have his bedroom in Hall County but his kitchen in Gwinnett County!

If that’s the case, what school will the children attend?  Which county responds if there is a fire?  Who gets the property tax dollars?

These were all questions posed by commissioners as they readied to vote on the Edge City Properties, Inc. rezoning application.

Commissioner Jeff Stowe said, “If I build a house that is half in Hall County and half in Gwinnett County, how does that work from a property tax standpoint, or permitting, and those kind of things.”

County Attorney Bill Blalock answered, “Your tax bill will go to the county that incorporates most of the lot, for instance…and Hall County then basically rebates to Gwinnett County their part of the tax.  That’s generally the way we do it.”

“And where does Little Johnny go to school?” Commissioner Scott Gibbs asked.

After a moment of silence and no one able to offer an answer, a member of the audience rose and said her family had that situation.  She said in her case the school district was determined by where the child’s bedroom is located.

Stowe said he felt it important to determine the answers now.  “I’d rather get on the front end, how these lots are going to be divided, who’s going to be doing inspections, than end up in court with an issue down the road.”

Stowe agreed to vote on approving the rezoning of the property provided the developer promise to get in writing the responsibilities and jurisdictions affecting the seven dual-county sites.

That detail will need to be available when the lot is marketed to prospective buyers.

Mike Dye of Duluth, representing the applicant, agreed to the condition, and several others that were attached to his application following his firm’s appearance before the Planning Commission on November 6th.  With that in place the commissioners approved the rezoning request unanimously.

“I don’t want to see seven lot owners having to fight,” Stowe said.

Only Friendship Road resident Alfredo Figueroa spoke in opposition to the rezoning, expressing his concern over more growth in traffic volume.

Teresa Owens, who also lives on Friendship Road, said she had come-around after much thought to supporting the construction of Trinity Falls.  She said development of the 74.14-acres was better than what had recently become the state of the vacant property, now used exclusively for growing hay.

“In recent years I’ve seen dirt bike riders, ATVs, and hunters,” Owens said.  “Recently we…had to call police to run off vagrants that had taken up in the barns on the property.”

“We’d rather have a home development than a commercial development that’s lights and noise 24-hours a day,” she said. 

Price point of the new community will range from $305,000 to $365,000 (average price of an existing home in the immediate vicinity is $155,000 according to Dye) and the property will be developed in three phases over 36-months.

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