BOC tables Dawson Village vote for 30 days

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County commissioners voted to place a rezoning request by Dawson Village Partners, LLC to build the largest development in county history on hold for 30 days last night (May 16).

The controversial project attracted very strong public participation. The meeting room was nearly full and two dozen Dawson County residents rose to share their views with commissioners. Eighteen opposed, eight supported.

Rod Bishoff

The project, if approved, would add 2,175 new residential units, 338,000 square feet of retail space and 242,000 square feet of office space to the county which, many argued would over burden the roads, law enforcement and public safety. It would be built on 777 acres from the intersection of Ga. 400 and Lumpkin Campground Road west to Etowah River Road before crossing Etowah River.

The county planning commission voted 3-2 to recommend denial to the Board of Commissioners based on the impact the development would have on the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens and the environmental impact on the Etowah River and flood plain.

Approval of a mixed use village is a two-part process. The initial phase calls for a concept plan in which the county looks at proposed uses, designates areas, open space, amenities, the road system, access points, location of streams and public and private streets for the development.

Dwight Roberts

If the concept is approved, the project would come back before commissioners who would then take a deeper dive into water and sewer locations, a stormwater plan, building areas and landscaping and architectural standards

Rod Bishoff, a retired developer who said he has developed property in Fulton, DeKalb, Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, called the project a fantasy.

“These (developers) are doing a great job but not one of them is going to build a darn thing in this county,” he said. “Not one of them has any money to build these things. I have friends in the banking and insurance industries and not one of them knows anything about this project.”

He added, “Once you do this zoning, you open the door to a whole lot of problems. I think it’s a great idea, but you need the right people to do it with you. You need people to say, ‘this is my project. I’m here to build it with you.’ We don’t have that and that is a problem.”

Dava Hudgins said some part of the project would be built on a historic site.

“My ancestors opened a trading post on that site,” she said. “They married Cherokee women. There are Indian mounds there and I know where there are two different Indian burial grounds. It’s not just a flood plain. It is historically important.”

Dwight Roberts, a realtor, said he had not made up his mind before attending last night’s meeting. “I wanted to learn more and see more,” he said. “But after listening and knowing how many good people there are in the community and how concerned they are about this project, it makes me think they are probably right. There is something here that is precious. There is something here that should not be bought or sold. So, I just want to say that I am now against it.”

Tony Passarello

On the other side, Tony Passarello argued in favor of approving the project.

He pointed out the project complies with the county’s future land use plan (FLUP) and gives the county a way to manage the growth that is headed to Dawson County.

“Let’s assume that each of these properties were developed individually over the same time period according to their assigned zoning,” he said. “In this hypothetical scenario, there would be no zoning and planning commission hearing required. There would be no opportunity for citizen input, and in most cases, there would be no commission vote.”

Passarello then asked, “Is it not better to treat these 777 acres in a managed planned development with the scale, quality and vision of Etowah Village or piecemeal without continuity or vision.

In addition to planned management, he said the project presents a number of opportunities, including controlled growth over eight to 10 years, development of Dawson County as a destination spot, living wage jobs for decades and the opportunity to attract millenials and members of Generation X,

Chairman Billy Thurmond said, “When you look at the portion east of the river toward Ga. 400, the majority of that property is currently zoned where most of the pods (A,B,C,D,E, and F) they are requesting could be done without the approval of this Board.”

Those pods consist of retail space, office space, performing arts center, convenience center, 300-room luxury hotel, art museum, Asian garden and retirement community.

Thurmond said he could see the negative side of the project across the river. “You have flood plain issues that will require a floodplain analysis. It could require a bridge that may or may not get approved by the (U.S. Army) Corps of Engineers, and EPD. You have endangered species in the river that have to be taken into consideration. Most of that is outside the current zoning and land use plan. That’s a lot to think about when you look at the vast complexity of a project such as this.”

Thurmond’s motion to table the request for 30 days was unanimously approved.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Planning Commission recommends denial of Dawson Village Partners development

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DAWSONVILLE Ga. – The Dawson County Planning Commission voted 3-2 Tuesday to recommend the Board of Commissioners deny the controversial Dawson Village Partners plan to build a Master Planned Village on 777 acres starting at Lumpkin Campground Road and Ga. 400, stretching to Etowah River Road then across the Etowah River.

Chairman Jason Hamby joined John Dooley and Neil Hornsey in voting to recommend denial. John Maloney and Tim Bennett voted to recommend approval.

The Government Center Assembly room was packed with residents, mostly opposed the development. When the vote was announced, many applauded and some shouted “thank you” to the commissioners. But the recommendation is non-binding. County Commissioners will make the final decision next month.

Shaun Adams, an attorney for the developer, outlined the project, which he said would include 250 acres of green space, a five-star hotel with approximately 300 rooms,  a performing arts center for concerts, approximately 300,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space, 200,000 square feet of office space, land to build a fire station, a 40-acre park with canoe launch on the Etowah River, a continuous care retirement community with an assisted living and nursing center with about 450 beds and a Chinese cultural arts center.

The plan originally called for a 2,700 residential units but that has since been reduced to 2,175 units.

The development would be built in five phases and would take between 10 and 15 years to complete.

Dooley expressed concern about the project’s density and added it would risk, “turning us into our neighbors to the south.”

Hornsey said, “It might be a little too ambitious for us.”

More than two dozen residents rose to express their views regarding the project. Nineteen were opposed.

Tony Passarello was one of only six who spoke in favor of the development. “To me it represents a management vehicle for growth,” he said. “It is a larger development and therefore you can manage it. Based on the restrictions and the planning and some of the stipulations that have been discussed tonight, the scale is large enough for us to have some predictability as long as financing and their demographics work out.

He added that the development is consistent with controlled growth metered over the next 10 years and that it is the type of development that citizens indicated they wanted in a comprehensive plan survey conducted last year.

Several speakers said they did not want Dawson County to become another Cumming, Alpharetta or Gainesville. Others said the county is not ready for a development of this size.

Johnny Burt said, “I don’t have a problem with people making money. The problem I do have is when people come into the county, make their money and leave us with the problems they’ve left behind.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

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Massive Dawson Village Partners rezoning request goes before Dawson County Planning Commission Tuesday

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Anyone hoping to get a seat at the Dawson County Planning Commission meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, April 16) should arrive early. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Dawson County Government Assembly Room and a standing-room-only crowd is expected to attend to hear a rezoning request that could permit one of the biggest developments in the county’s history.

Dawson Village Partners is asking to rezone approximately 770 acres to Mixed Planned Village for a development currently known as Etowah Village. Original plans called for a 974-acre development that would include approximately 2,700 residential units. That number has now been reduced to 2,175 units.

Following Tuesday’s planning commission hearing the request will go before the Board of Commissioners with a recommendation to approve or deny. That meeting is tentatively set for May.

The developer’s plan calls for the development to begin at the intersection of Lumpkin Campground Road and Ga. 400 expanding west to Etowah River Road and across the Etowah River.

At an informational meeting last month, project engineer Corey Guthrie revealed that plans call for construction of a convention center, luxury hotel that could rise to 10 stories, a performing arts center for concerts, approximately 300,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space, 200,000 square feet of office space, a 12,000 square foot fire station, a 40-acre park with canoe launch on the Etowah River, and a continuous care retirement community with an assisted living and nursing center with about 450 beds.

Guthrie said the project could take 10-15 years to complete and would be built in five phases.

Phase 1 consists of building the fire station, hotel and retail along Ga. 400.

Phase 2 calls for construction of office buildings, apartments, a performing arts center and museum.

Phase 3 will be the addition of continuous care retirement center.

Phase 4 would include a 400-unit active adult community. The final phase calls for the addition of 171-single family units.

Guthrie said if the county commission approves the rezoning, it will be at least nine months to a year before ground is broken.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

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Large crowd attends Dawson Village Partners information meeting

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Representatives from Dawson Village Partners LLC met with a very engaged group of approximately 100 stakeholders to provide details and answer questions about the massive 770-acre, 2,175 resident, mixed village development known as Etowah Village at Fire Station No. 2 yesterday.

The scope of the project — which will span the northwest corner of Lumpkin Campground Road and Ga. 400 westward, crossing the Etowah River and reaching Etowah River Road – has been reduced from 974 acres and 2,700 residences.

The project was expected to go before the Dawson County Planning Commission next week, but the developer has asked for a postponement until either April or May.

Plans call for approximately 300,000 square feet of residential space, 200,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space, a 12,000 square foot fire station, 300-room hotel with conference center, a performing arts center for concerts. About 30 percent of the project will be green space, including a 40-acre park with canoe launch on the Etowah River.

There will also be 171 single-family residences and, 400 multi-family residences. 319 of those will be above retail space. The rest will be age targeted or age restricted. Within that will be a continuous care retirement community with an assisted living, nursing center with about 450 beds.

Project Engineer Corey Gutherie said there is still a lot of work to be done before ground can be broken.

Following the planning commission meeting, the project will have to go before the Board of Commissioners at least twice, first to get approval for the project then again to get approval of the architectural design.

“It will be at least nine months to a year after that before we can begin moving dirt,” Gutherie said Wednesday.

The project is expected to take 10-15 years to complete. Phase 1 consists of building the fire station, hotel and retail along Ga. 400.

Phase 2 calls for construction of office buildings, apartments, a performing arts center and museum. Phase 3 will be the addition of continuous care retirement center. Phase 4 would include a 400-unit active adult community. The final phase calls for the addition of 171-single family units.

Reaction from the stakeholders was mostly positive.

Bill Minor who lives in the Gates of Etowah subdivision said, “Overall it’s as good as were going to get for that area. It’s a well thought out project that I can support. The only negative I heard was access from Hwy. 53. The state and county will have to work that out.”

Ty Hudson, who grew up in Roswell, but lives in the Savannah Trace subdivision, said, “I can definitely support this. It will be a great thing for Dawson County. I just don’t want it to turn the rest of Dawsonville into a ghost town. We have three small children and once they are a little older my wife may want to go back to work. If she doesn’t want to work in retail, she would have to work outside Dawson County. But with the offices that will become a part of the development, she may be able to find a job locally.”

Jerry Gordon was a little more reserved. “I haven’t totally decided yet,” he said. “It’s quite a large project to take in all at once. It will mean a lot of growth and a lot of things will have to change. I tend to think they are headed in the right direction. A lot of us are trying to figure out if it will mean an increase or decrease in our property values.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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Rezoning request postponed until April meeting

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson Village Partners, LLC rezoning request that was scheduled to go before the Dawson County Planning Commission on March 19, will be postponed until the next meeting in April.

Dawson Partners, LLC is proposing a massive mixed use village to be located on a 974-acre site at the northwest corner of the intersection of Lumpkin Campground Road and Ga. 400 west, crossing the Etowah River and reaching Etowah River Road.

Developers are awaiting the results of a development of regional impact (DRI) study being conducted by the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission before moving forward.
DRIs are large-scale developments that are likely to have regional effects beyond the local government jurisdiction in which they are located. The Georgia Planning Act of 1989 authorized the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to establish procedures for review of these large-scale projects.

These procedures are designed to improve communication between affected governments and to provide a means of revealing and assessing potential impacts of large-scale developments before conflicts relating to them arise.

At the same time, local government autonomy is preserved since the host government maintains the authority to make the final decision on whether a proposed development will or will not go forward.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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CORRECTION: Dawson Village Partners plan for 2,700-home development attracts strong opposition from Dawson County residents

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NOTE: The dates for the planning commission hearing and Board of Commissioners hearing were incorrectly published in the initial reporting of this article. We apologize for any confusion The correct dates are listed below.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. -Dawsonville Village Partners is proposing a mixed-use development to be located on a 974-acre site at the northwest corner of the intersection of Lumpkin Campground Road and Ga. 400 west, crossing the Etowah River and reaching Etowah River Road.

The Dawson County Planning Commission will hear a request to rezone the property to Mixed Use Village on Tuesday, March 19. The request will go before the Board of Commissioners April 18. Both hearings will be held in the County Administration Building at 6 p.m. and the public is invited to attend and speak in opposition to or in favor of the proposal.

The plan also calls for a 350-home, age-restricted senior community, a continuing-care retirement community, approximately 338,000 square feet of retail space and more than 243,000 square feet of office space, a luxury hotel, conference center, central park and walking trails.

Developers believe the project will provide a “destination” to attract visitors and encourage them to stay longer and spend more money in the county.

But opponents worry the mega development will over burden an already challenged infrastructure and destroy the quality of life in Dawson County.

Residents have taken to Facebook pages like Focus on Dawson and Dawson Discussion to voice their opinion.

Gina Wilson Schulte asked, “Why would you oppose this. It brings jobs and tax money to Dawson County.”

But Schulte was in a very small minority of posters. The overwhelming majority expressed strong opposition.

Dava Hudgins, for example, posted, “2,700 more houses? We don’t have the infrastructure for what we already have, including water and sewer. Our police force is stretched as it is. There is no budget for more. We don’t need this kind of development.”

Jennifer Dyer stated, “This looks like a nightmare.”

Kelley Crane posted, “I came here 20 years ago to get away from this c_ _ _. Why is this happening to our quiet little town?”

Douglas S. Davis asked, sarcastically, “Is this going to lower my taxes like the Mall was supposed to?”

And Danny Gilbert lamented the fact that “Our way of life will soon be gone.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

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