"NO" to Proposed 350 Unit Apartment Complex- Thompson Mill & Sprout Springs- Braselton, GA

"NO" to Proposed 350 Unit Apartment Complex- Thompson Mill & Sprout Springs- Braselton, GA

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Hall County Board of Commissioners and Planning Commission,

Tyler Gaines, representing the developer TPA Residential, noted they could seek rezoning in Hall County as an alternative (“Braselton News” 9/25/19). Gaines added that they could probably get 50 more units if developed in the county instead of Braselton. “I think if we went the Hall County route, we probably could get a higher and larger density”.

Here are a few key points from the application submitted to Hall County:

1.     This Development is 350 residential units or 11.2 units per acre. Based on the original application submitted to the Town of Braselton, they were requesting 289 Units which included a parcel of land located with Town limits. The applicant has removed the parcel located within the Town and are now asking for an even higher density.

2.     With the construction of Noble Vines just yards away, according to Hall County Code § 17.300.010. Minimum Standards for Apartments- Purpose- “To prevent the construction of undesirable apartment uses in the county, to prevent the overcrowding of land, to avoid the undue concentration of population within certain districts and to insure the adequate protection of the surrounding area, the following minimum standards for apartment development shall apply. These requirements are designed to guide apartment development in districts.... where they are permitted subject to the approval of the planning commission.” 

3.     The applicant is applying for a PRD zoning: According to 17.180.060. - Planned Residential Development (PRD) of the Hall County Code:  Encourage maximum use of natural features and, through proper site planning measures, the development should conform to the existing character and development pattern of the surrounding area. Every effort should be made to preserve and protect any adjacent residential uses from adverse impacts which might result from a higher density development. 

4.     Under “Project Narrative- Minimum Area and Setbacks”: Height: Listed 3 stories plus basement. Since renderings and no elevations were included in the application, how will the finished development look with the topography of the parcels? Does this follow what is in the surrounding community?  Will it set higher than Noble Vines Apartments? Currently, Braselton allows no more than 3 stories for apartment units, which is currently what is constructed for Noble Vines just yards away.

5.     Per 17.160 of the Official Code of Hall County states that in order to accommodate emergency and service vehicles, the following standards shall apply: Any planned residential development equal to or greater than 150 lots to include at least two vehicular entrances that connect to a city, state, or county-maintained public road”

i. Per the Staff Report: The applicant is proposing only one entrance/exit into the development off Thompson Mill Road.

 

6.      Deceleration and Turn Lanes:

a.   Will a turn lane be required coming from Reunion Drive/Nape Ridge Road turning into the development?

b.      Will a deceleration lane be required on Thompson Mill coming from Sprout Springs to turn into the development?

  i.  According to Hall County Code § 16.60.290. Streets and Other Right-of-Way- Deceleration lanes and left-turn lanes 

Part A. “…. The Hall County Traffic Engineer may waive or require the installation of a deceleration lane for subdivisions regardless of lot number based upon traffic and safety considerations.” 
Part C. “The Hall County Traffic Engineer may waive or require the installation of a left-turn lane, regardless of average daily traffic (ADT) or number of lots, based upon traffic and safety considerations”
 

7.     Setbacks: 

a.      Front/Thompson Mill: 35 Ft- Meets Hall PRD Requirement of 25 feet

b.     Side: 10 feet- Meets Hall County PRD Requirement of 5 Feet

c.      Rear: 20 feet- Meets Hall County PRD Requirement of 20 feet

 i.     However, the applicant is using the PRD to circumvent the codes. According to Hall County Code § 17.300.020. Design standards and restrictions. 

 ii.     Part E “No apartment shall be constructed at a distance of less than 40 feet from adjoining property lines” 

 iii.     Part B. “When more than one apartment house is constructed, the buildings shall collectively and individually adhere to the setback requirements of the district in which they are located, plus five feet per story over two stories.” 

 iv.     17.240.010. - Minimum lot area, setback and height requirements. TABLE 17.240.010 for Residential
Multi-Family (RMF)

1.     Minimum Lot Frontage is 50 feet 

2.     Front Yard is 65 feet from center line o road or 40 feet from property line, whichever is greater

 

8.      According to the Hall County Comprehensive Plan and Future Development pages A-27 and A-31, this proposed development is located in the “Mix Use Corridor” and the “Lake Residential Area”. 

a.      According to the “Lake Area Residential” Future Development Guide, “General Characteristics: ...includes low-density residential development and neighborhoods. Land use patterns are similar to Residential Areas....Future development will continue to be detached, single family homes at low densities in addition to less intensive agricultural uses.”

b.     According to the “Mix Use Corridor” Guide the “Intent: ENHANCE and MAINTAIN well-functioning, attractive corridors....and coordinate land use patterns without encroaching on adjacent neighborhoods.”

c.      While they are applying for a PRD, they are still in fact apartment units. According to Hall County Code § 17.300.020. Minimum Standards for Apartments- Design standards and restrictions Part A. “Apartment construction shall be according to a comprehensive development plan with adequate provisions for access and for adequate protection of the surrounding properties.” 

 

9.       Per 17.300.020. - Design standards and restrictions “F”: Hall County requires 1.5 parking spaces per unit for apartment homes.

a.       Per the Staff Report, the applicant’s site plan does not specify the number of spaces for the development, but the above standard is referenced at the minimum standards. 

b.      However, on Page 2 section titled “Site Plan” of the traffic impact study, they mention that there will be 510 parking spaces for 350 units or 1.45 spaces which falls below code minimum.

 

10.  There is no mention of a sidewalk or Life Path. Can the 10-foot-wide path similar to the one on Friendship, be required running the length of the proposed development? If not, can a minimum sidewalk width be required to begin connecting this development to surrounding paths? 

 

Regarding the Traffic Impact Study: 

11.  Under Page 4, “Regional Planned and Programmed Improvements”:

a.      Sprout Springs from 985 just south of Thompson Mill. When will the piece from Friendship/347 to Thompson Mill Road be slated to begin and end? 

b.     In addition, will the turn corrections be made at Reunion and Napa Ridge Road sand Friendship/347? 

 i.     Right turn only off Napa Ridge/Reunion Drive onto Friendship/347 not allowing left turns that have to cross traffic

 ii.     Right turn only from Reunion Drive onto Friendship/347 not allowing left turns that have to cross traffic

c.   As it stands now and for the foreseeable future, the intersections mentioned above cannot take additional traffic until there are resolutions

 

12.  Under Page 5 “Volumes: It is noted that traffic counts have been scheduled to be completed in March 2020. Have those counts been completed? In addition, if these counts have been done in the last two months, they would not be accurate based on the state our country. People are not traveling for work, school or personal trips in a normal manner. 

13.  Under Page 6 “Trip Generation” Table 2: During AM Peak: 121 Exit which equals to only 35% of residents leaving the community. During PM Peak: 113 enter which equals to 32%. This is based on only one car per unit. These numbers don’t seem to be accurate. 

14.  Under Page 1, “Executive Summary” and on Page 7, “Annual Growth Rate”: It’s mentioned a growth factor of 2% by 2023. How can that be accurate based on the current growth of the Town of Braselton and surrounding community

 

We, as residents of the Town of Braselton and the surrounding community of Hall County, have serious concerns about this project based on what is listed above. The Town of Braselton nor Hall County residents in the surrounding community need the impact of an additional apartment development less than 300 yards from the same housing type.

Based on the multiple reasons within the Hall County Code, we as a community are hopeful that you will deny this application.

Thank you taking the time to hear our concerns.

 

Application Information:https://www.hallcounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/7422/Rochester_Braselton-Commons-Complete-Packet