UPDATE: Etowah Village is off the table

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The largest and most controversial development to come before the Dawson County Board of Commissioners in years is off the table.

Dawson Village Partners informed Dawson County Planning and Development Director Jameson Kinley today (July 17) it has withdrawn its request to rezone more than 700 acres to build Etowah Village.

In a letter addressed to Kinley, Dawson Village Partners President Yong Pan wrote, “Upon careful consideration of the responses from the county planning committee and county board of commission one of our primary investors has decided not to proceed with the project.

“The compounding requirements and restrictions placed upon the project through the continuing zoning process especially the non-approval development on the property of west side of the river have exceeded his expectations to the point he  believes it is no longer in his best interest to pursue the project.”

The project was to include 338,000 square feet of retail space, 243,200 square feet of Class A office space, a convention and performing arts center, a site for a future fire station, a cultural center and public awareness of Chinese arts and gardens, four-story hotel, 800 units of multi-family housing (apartments), 180 units of single-family attached homes, 205 units of single-family detached homes, a continuing care center and 156 acres for parks and green space.

Unconfirmed reports of the withdrawal began to circulate on social media two days ago, but Kinley did not receive official notification until today, too late for the issue to be removed from the Board of Commissioners Thursday agenda.

All that remains now is the likelihood of commissioners voting to accept the withdrawal.

District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett expressed relief, saying, “This was just not a good fit for Dawson County. We do not have the infrastructure to support something like this.”

District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines said, “While this one is over for now the growth pressure on Dawson County inevitably will continue and I will continue to review and take the time to research each one and listen to citizen feedback in order to make the best decision for the community.”

Dava Hudgins, an outspoken opponent of the development said she is thrilled to receive the news. “While in theory, it sounded like a wonderful development, the reality is that it was just not the right fit for this county.”

 

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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Dawson Village Partners withdraws application for rezoning

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The largest and most controversial development to come before the Dawson County Board of Commissioners in years is off the table.

Dawson Village Partners informed Dawson County Planning and Development Director Jameson Kinley today (July 17) it has withdrawn its request to rezone more than 700 acres to build Etowah Village.

Fetch Your News will have an update later this morning.

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Etowah Village could get up- or-down vote Thursday

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — A hot-button issue that has simmered for months could finally get an up or down vote when the Board of Commissioners meets in a voting session at 6 p.m. Thursday.

A vote on Dawson Village Partners proposed Etowah Village was scheduled last month but developers came to the meeting with a major last-minute modification that commissioners were not prepared to consider.

As a result, District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett motioned to table a vote on the project until July 18.

The revision included taking out everything west of the Etowah River and changing the public entrance on Hwy. 53 from a public entrance to a gated emergency vehicle-only entrance and only emergency personnel will have a key.

The revised project now includes 338,000 square feet of retail space, 243,200 square feet of Class A office space, a convention and performing arts center, a site for a future fire station, a cultural center and public awareness of Chinese arts and gardens, four-story hotel, 800 units of multi-family housing (apartments), 180 units of single-family attached homes, 205 units of single-family detached homes, a  unit continuing care center and 156 acres for parks and green space.

The other issues on the voting session agenda include a possible pay raise for employees of the Sheriff’s Office and appointment of Carroll L. Turner to the Library Board.

Commissioners will also vote on a resolution in recognition of the Dawson County’s 7 and 8 year-old Dizzy Dean Softball State Champions.

 

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

 

 

 

 

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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Changes to Etowah Village site plan leads to another delay

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Dawson County Commissioners were scheduled to vote on the oft-postponed Etowah Village Thursday. But when it came time for the public hearing, a representative of Dawson Village Partners announced the company is proposing major modifications to the site plan, including no buildings west of the Etowah River. With that, the Board voted to table the vote until July to ensure the public learns more about the project.

Be sure to read Fetch Your News Friday for all the details.

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Commissioners set to vote on Etowah Village

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Two major developments that have attracted heated opposition from citizens will be on the agenda when the Board of Commissioners meets in a voting session Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Dawson County Government Center.

That session will be preceded at 4 p.m. by a work session and executive session.

Dawson Village Partners wants to have about 800 acres at the intersection of Ga. Hwy. 400 and Lumpkin County Road rezoned to accommodate Etowah Village, a massive development that would include 538,700 square feet of retail space, 243,000 square feet of office space and 2,174 residential units in addition to a hotel, convention center and Asian cultural arts center.

Opponents believe such a major development would overburden the infrastructure lead to overcrowding schools and lower property values. Even more important, they believe it will destroy the quality of life they enjoy and that has attracted many others to move here.

And, Dava Hudgins gave commissioners something else to consider at the last public hearing when she 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.”

Historic sites are protected by state and federal laws.

Hudgins took Dist. 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett and Dist. 4 Julie Hughes-Nix to visit the site Saturday. They are expected to report on their findings at Thursday’s meeting.

There is also a request by Judd Hughes to rezone 40 acres on Dawson Forest Road from Residential Agriculture (RA-1) to Residential Multi-Family for the purpose of building a 240-unit apartment complex is less contentious but has drawn a significant amount of opposition.

Other items on the voting session agenda include:

A PR Acquisition, LLC request to update zoning conditions on property near the intersection of Harry Sossebee Road and Lumpkin Campground Road because some of the original conditions no longer apply to the property which was approved for 388 homes;

Consideration of a Dawson County Food Drive spearheaded by the Public Defender’s office;

Consideration of a request by an Eagle Scout to build a Bocce Ball Court at Rock Creek Park for an Eagle Scout project;

Consideration of Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation power easement for the Public Works Complex;

Consideration of No Thru Truck Traffic on Blacks Mill Rd;

Consideration of improvements to Red Rider Road;

Consideration of appointments to the Library Board.

 

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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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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