GAINESVILLE – The Hall County Planning Commission recommended denial Monday evening to a rezoning request that would allow for the construction of several outdoor and one indoor soccer fields on Burton Circle near its intersection with Barrett Road.
Planning Commission Chairman Don Smallwood said after hearing the presentation by the owner/developer followed by comments made in opposition from four individuals, “It may be a good idea but it may be the wrong place.”
Property owner Sergio Felix of Oakwood proposes to use the 51.5-acre tract he recently purchased, “…as a recreational center with soccer fields and also have a building for indoor soccer…and also we want to do a private event center.”
Felix’s application indicates that the indoor complex would be 9600-square-feet under roof and have 100 designated parking places. Felix said he plans to erect stadium lighting for the outdoor fields.
Allan Nichols lives across Burton Circle from the proposed entrance to the complex and told commissioners, “The roads, they’re not made to handle all that traffic that’s going to be in and out of there.”
Lamar Parker of Jefferson appeared before the commission on behalf of his mother who was unable to attend. She lives at the intersection of Barrett Road and Burton Circle and Parker said, “They’re very small two lane roads, no shoulders, nowhere to pull off, no turning lanes.”
“She bought that house with her last bit of money. She can’t afford to move; she’s living there because that’s where she can afford to live; she plans on dying there,” Parker said.
Parker said current traffic volume is high and additional traffic will create a problem. “There’s already been two wrecks (at the intersection fronting her house) where the cars ended up in my momma’s front yard; had it not been for the pine trees (they) probably would have ended up on my momma’s front porch.”
Leo and Gabriella Reyes live in Silver Ridge Subdivision and their new house abuts the subject property. Both Reyes said they played soccer many years while growing up and have seen a large variety of peripheral problems that accompany a soccer complex, from drugs and drug deals to rival gangs clashing.
“I saw a lot of crime. I saw fights, guns being pulled out,” Gabriella said.
Leo said he has witnessed at other soccer complexes that when parking becomes an issue, or if the gates to the fields are closed, people will park in nearby residential areas and “cut-through” private property in order to conveniently access soccer fields.
He said wants to avoid that happening in their new subdivision.
Commissioner Chris Braswell said he couldn’t support the rezoning request. “There’s too many unanswered questions. I applaud Mr. Felix for wanting to start a business but I think this is the wrong place for it. The infrastructure is just not there.”
The vote to recommend denial was unanimous. However, Felix said afterwards that he intends to continue his application and plans to appeal to the Hall County Commission at their June 14th meeting.
SMOOTH SAILING FOR EQUESTRIAN CENTER
With no opposition and very few questions from commissioners, a unanimous recommendation for approval was given to Greg and Patricia Egan of Honeybee Farm, LLC, to continue using an 86-acre tract on Roy Parks Road as a horse boarding center.
The Egan’s purchased the property two months ago.