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Tuesday July 16th, 2019 12:16AM

Gainesville to participate with county residents regarding 220-acre annexation, development

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter

GAINESVILLE – A proposed annexation of almost 220-acres for a 375-home development easily passed the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board (GPAB) but could see a much tougher challenge when it comes before the Gainesville City Council according to one city leader.

Barbara Brooks represents Ward 3 on the Gainesville City Council; she also attends meetings of the GPAB in an ex-officio status.  At this morning’s city council work session Brooks gave a “heads-up” to fellow council members that an annexation recommended for approval at the most recent GPAB meeting could be controversial when it comes before the city council for final approval.

Brooks said of the agenda for the GPAB meeting she attended Tuesday evening: “There were three or four items; one of them specifically I will call out, and that is a request by Integrity Development Group.”  

Brooks continued, “The issue is one that has always plagued any development off Gaines Mill Road, and that is the residents who live in the county are unhappy with any development that is going to impact…their getting back and forth on Gaines Mill Road.”

“And now this (project) will also affect getting back and forth on Gillsville Highway,” Brooks added.

The development, according to the application, initially will allow access directly onto Gillsville Highway to the south and eventually indirect access to Gaines Mill Road through Heritage Pointe Subdivision to the north.

“The (GPAB) recommended that Integrity (Development Group) meet with the Gaines Mill community and work out some of these differences that might inhibit this development from going through,” Brooks said.

That process is underway, Brooks said, and she plans to attend those meetings, but she senses the annexation and rezoning could be contentious.

She said at present she is undecided on her position on the big project.  “Personally, I applaud development because of the need for that corridor in light of the (U.S.) 129 improvement and expansion.”

“But we’re going to have to have some development, commercial and retail development, and we’re not going to get it without rooftops,” Brooks added.

“Gaines Mill Road residents must work with their (Hall County) commissioners,” she summarized.  “That’s not something that the (Gainesville) city council can take on for them.”

She said, “We’re going to try to help those county residents through the process of meeting with Hall County commissioners and DOT (the Georgia Department of Transportation).”

She thanked her fellow council members for allowing the city to participate in the developer-resident meetings as the project moves forward.

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