Hall County Commissioners approved a new set of conditions Thursday that will allow for the development of a more-than 500-acre property near Braselton.
The land on Ga. 211 at Howington Road was already zoned for Planned Residential Development and Planned Commercial Development after a 2016 rezoning that was meant to make way for the Atlanta River Walk project. That development fell through due to a lack of funding.
Reveille Development Partners, LLC was looking to amend the conditions of that original rezoning to allow them to build a smaller version of a similar project. Representatives of Reveille said the new plans call for almost 300 fewer homes and less commercial and office space than originally proposed. Atlanta River Walk was planning to build 1,900 homes while the new project calls for just over 1,500.
Several residents spoke in opposition to Reveille's request with the primary concern being over a proposed sound barrier between the development and nearby Road Atlanta. Jeff Lee, president of Michelin Speedway Road Atlanta, said the race track is not opposed to the development as long as the barrier is in place.
"Road Atlanta's been here for about 50 years, it provides over $50 million worth of economic impact every year over here through taxes, hotels, restaurants," Lee said. "We think we're an attribute to the overall area and we'd certainly like our business to be able to stay going forward."
Commissioners debated how to ensure Reveille's construction of the barrier. Reveille representatives said they would be willing to commit up to $1 million towards the wall but said they did not want to bind themselves to a time frame that could be held up by potential legal delays. The proposed barrier would be built on Road Atlanta's property and construction would need to be approved by NASCAR.
District One Commissioner Cathy Cooper added a condition to the rezoning that will require Reveille to begin engineering of the barrier within 60 days of grading the development's first residential pod.
Other concerns from residents were over home and lot sizes as well as the added traffic on Ga. 211.
Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the new conditions. Commission Chairman Richard Higgins was the only vote against the request. He voiced concerns over the timing of the sound barrier's construction.
"I'm skeptical on the wall in general. I mean, I think it's going to be hard to build something that's going to be sufficient to stop the sound because people I know in Chestnut Mountain hear (the race track) from four or five miles away," Higgins said.
Reveille representatives said work on the development could begin in January of 2020.