GAINESVILLE – Plans to construct a four-story, 152-unit senior living facility on a 5.77-acre wedge of property between Thompson Mill and Friendship Roads is now a step closer to final approval.
Following thirty minutes of asking questions and exchanging comments, primarily between the developer, Dave Loeffel, Founder and CEO of Highlands Residential, LLC, and members of the planning commission, a unanimous recommendation for approval was given to the rezoning application.
Those questions by the commission mostly concerned specifics about residency requirements and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations. The commissioners expressed concern that the language used to define those standards be appropriate and compliant with existing law since the development is being chartered as a senior independent-living facility.
The final decision on the rezoning request will be made by the Hall County Commission January 9, 2020. Hall County Planning Staff will spend time before that meeting working out the specifics of the terms establishing residency parameters and ADA compliance.
Commissioner Chairman Chris Braswell said, “I would like for us to consider allowing them to come up with some language before the Board of Commissioners (meeting) because we can’t get into Fair Housing Laws and all that.”
According to the developer, units will average 950 square feet in size and the proposed average monthly cost would be $1800. Since the focus of the development is mature adults who function independently the application stated that the development would not include a separate dining room or commercial laundry, as each unit will have its own washer, dryer and full-sized kitchen/dining area.
“You are asking for one variance to the Gateway Corridor Overlay Standards,” Braswell asked, “to have four levels as opposed to three, correct?”
“The purpose of going from three stories to four stories is to bring down the footprint,” said Steve Gilliam, attorney representing Highlands Residential. “It allows for more landscape areas.”
According to the application units will have one and two bedrooms, a club house, library, game room, dog wash and mail center.
The County Commission meeting mentioned above where the final decision will be made begins at 6 p.m. at the Hall County Government Center on Browns Bridge Road.
APPLICANT ‘NO-SHOWS’ AND REZONING/SPECIAL-USE REQUESTS ARE DENIED
The first four items on Monday evening’s Hall County Planning Commission agenda involved a pair of rezoning and special use applications by Broadway Holdings, LLC, to use nearly 58-acres along Candler Road as a landfill.
The applications by Clyde Broadway were first scheduled for consideration in October according to Planning Director Sarah McQuade. “His applications were tabled on October 21st,” she said.
According to the minutes from the October 21 meeting available on the county’s website, the applicant did not show at that meeting and as a courtesy the application was tabled until Monday’s meeting.
In case the applicant was caught in heavy traffic, the commissioners moved the applications to a point forty five minutes into the meeting. At that point, after asking again if anyone was there to present the application, Chairman Chris Braswell said, “Let the record show that they are not here.”
In addition, documentation was presented to the commissioners that the site had been used as a landfill on several occasions in the preceding months. Tyler Smith, speaking in opposition to the landfill special-use applications, told commissioners, “We have evidence that the applicant has already been operating the site as a landfill.”
Smith presented recent photographs as evidence. He also referenced the fact that two citations had been issued to the property owner by Hall County, “…for site plan disturbance and for failure to abide by a Stop Work Order.”
Following Smith’s presentation Braswell again asked if anyone representing the applicant cared to speak, but no one responded.
The four requests were all unanimously recommended for denial and will now go to the Hall County Commission for its consideration in two weeks.
“He will receive a notice letter of what occurred during this meeting,” McQuade said. Broadway's request will be heard for final action at the county commission meeting on January 9, 2020.