The Developer has requested a postponement.  This case will not be on the agenda for the Board of Commissioners meeting this evening (Tuesday, November 15th).

Hogan Pond Road Rezoning - Case #16-11-038

199.4 Acres to be rezoned for 166 high-density homes.

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ZONING NOTICE

Hogan Pond Road – 199.4 Acres

Subdivision of 166 Homes – Case #16-11-038

The property is currently zoned Agricultural (AG) with approximately 15 acres are zoned for Light Industrial (LI).  The applicant is requesting a re-zoning to R-80, R-60 and R-30 for a conservation subdivision. 

This Development as proposed: (Overall Density – 1 House per 1.2 acre including green space)

The conservation subdivision ordinance allows the developer to greatly reduce the lot sizes from what is required in the approved zoning category, in return for reserving a minimum of 40% of the land as green space.  The ordinance only requires 10% of the greenspace to be buildable land.  The intent of the conservation ordinance is to retain green space, especially in high density areas.  Most zoning categories allow conservation subdivisions by right, in other words, they do not need additional approval to build a conservation subdivision once they gain approval for their reasoning.  That does not apply to this subdivision.  Properties zoned for AG and R-80 need to request approval from the Board of Commissions to develop a conservation ordinance.  The ordinance states that AG permits a wide array of uses, some of which may conflict with the enjoyment of one’s property as a residential use. In other words, agricultural and high density homes do not make good neighbors, they are not compatible.  The ordinance also states that the R-80 Estate Residential district is most often found in areas in transition from agricultural to residential development and are considered appropriate for low density residential development.

The future land use map designates the surrounding area as a character area of Country Estates.  The Country Estates character area has suggested zoning districts of AG and R-80.  It is described as an area of low intensity land use with a mixture of single-family housing on large lots and farms. 

The proposed development does not fit with the character of how this area has already developed, nor does it fit with our land use plan to the year 2030.

PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT APPROVED IN 1990 (Adjacent to this property)

A Planned Unit Development (PUD) was approved as a spot zoning by Gene Hobgood, the sole county commissioner at the time, on December 27th, 1990 as his last act as he left office. 

The PUD has approval for 1,800 Homes on 1,344 acres, consisting of 1,090 Single Family Homes, and 710 Townhomes and Cluster Homes. The commercial component of this development consists of 13 Acres of Commercial on Hwy. 372 as well as 2 acres in the development zoned for Office/Light Industrial uses.

This PUD development was not appropriate for this area in 1990 and 26 years later it has not been developed because it is not appropriate for the area today.  The developer seeking approval for this re-zoning is using the spot zoning of the PUD to justify the approval of this rezoning of 199.4 acres.  If this is approved, we will face other large owners requesting similar high-density rezoning’s and it will spread all over the surrounding area consisting of thousands of acres currently undeveloped now.

If this is approved; How will this affect you?

Schools:  If approved, this development will add 120 new students to the schools in this area.  Last year we were successful against the redistricting of the children in our area from Freedom Elementary School to Ball Ground Elementary.  This development would certainly mean that the children in our area would be redistricted to Ball Ground Elementary.  Freehome Elementary is at least five years away from the construction of a new school.  There is no money available to add or upgrade any of the schools in our attendance district.  The only solution available is redistricting and additional portable classrooms.

Roads:  The estimated number of trips generated on area roads by the residents of this development is projected at 1,589.  Hwy. 372 is a state highway maintained by Georgia DOT.  Traffic studies show Hwy. 372 with a failing grade during certain high traffic hours.  Traffic studies conducted by the City of Ball Ground show over 1,000 large trucks (tractor trailer and dump trucks) travel Hwy. 372 to the city each day.  GDOT recently completed the construction of the new bridge over the Etowah River.  GDOT will begin the intersection improvement project at Hwy.372 & Hwy. 369 by 2018.  They are converting the intersection from a 4-Way Stop to a Roundabout.  GDOT has one other project scheduled in the Comprehensive Transportation Plan to begin between 2031 to 2040.  That project is for safety improvements on Hwy. 372 from Hwy. 369 to Hwy. 5 in Ball Ground.  That project will add turn lanes on Hwy. 372.  

What Can You Do!

1.    Attend the Planning Commission Meeting, Tuesday, November 1st, at 7:00pm.  Held at the county administrative building located at 1130 Bluffs Parkway in Canton.

2.     Attend the Board of Commissioners Meeting Tuesday, November 15th, at 6:00 P.M. held at the county administrative building located at 1130 Bluffs Parkway in Canton.

3.    Email the Planning Commission Members and the Board of Commissioners to let them know that you want them to deny this re-zoning request.

Planning Commission Members - baldronin1@bellsouth.net; sherppascott@yahoo.com; rwhiteside@corblu.com;  tomjware1@gmail.com;  jerald.hill@gmail.com; tescondo@gmail.com;  witrealty@yahoo.com; vtaylor@cherokeega.com 

Board of Commissioners - sbwest@cherokeega.com, lbahrens@cherokeega.com, rgunnin@cherokeega.com, bpoole@cherokeega.com, ksgordan@cherokeega.com

The commissioners need to deny a rezoning for reasons that will hold up in court should the land owner or developer decide to sue.  Georgia has adopted the Steinberg Criteria (see below) as the legal basis.  When writing your letters, try and keep your objections as they apply to the criteria.

Steinberg Criteria:

"(1) Whether the zoning proposal will permit a use that is suitable in view of the use and development of adjacent and nearby property;

(2) Whether the zoning proposal will adversely affect the existing use or usability of adjacent or nearby property;

(3) Whether the property to be affected by the zoning proposal has a reasonable economic use as currently zoned;

(4) Whether the zoning proposal will result in a use which will or could cause an excessive or burdensome use of existing streets, transportation facilities, utilities, or schools;

(5) If the local government has an adopted land use plan, whether the zoning proposal is in conformity with the policy and intent of the land use plan; and

(6) Whether there are other existing or changing conditions affecting the use and development of the property which give supporting grounds for either approval or disapproval of the zoning proposal." OCGA 36-67-3.

Points to make in your letters:

Land Use Plan:

The entire surrounding area for miles around is designated as Country Estates in the land use plan.  Country Estates allow AG & R-80.  The closest Suburban Growth designation in the land use plan is over 2 miles away on Hwy. 369. The closest Suburban Living designation in the land use plan is more than 10 miles away. 

The PUD zoning was a spot zoning, approved by the last single county commissioner at his last meeting over 26 years ago.  This spot zoning has not begun to develop 26 years later and may never develop as zoned.  The land use plan was just updated in 2007 and the surrounding properties for miles around is all shown as Country Estates or Rural Places.  This re-zoning does not meet the character of our land use plan, nor does it meet the character of how this area has developed.

People have made large investments based on the land use plan and they deserve consideration in this decision.  If we can’t rely on the county land use plan, or how an area has already developed to make a sound decision on where we want to live; then what can we use?

Will the proposed zoning cause an excessive or burdensome use of existing streets, utilities, or schools:

Schools - Approximately one year ago the school district presented a re-districting plan that would move the children from Dawson Creek, Creighton Road, and Lula Payne Trail area from Freehome Elementary to Ball Ground Elementary.  The area residents fought hard to have their children remain in the attendance district for Free Home Elementary, and they were successful with their opposition.  This development, if approved, would force our children to be redistricted away from the school that they love and from all their friends.  The school district does have land to build a new school on; however, there is no money available to build a new school anywhere in the area for at least 5 years from now.

Roads -  If this development is approved, it will add 1,589 trips to Hwy. 372 which is already burdened with 900 to 1,500 traffic trailers and dump trucks each day along with increasing car traffic.   The transportation plan does not show any projects to add lanes to Hwy. 372.

Whether the property to be affected by a proposed zoning has a reasonable economic use as currently zoned:

The property included in this zoning case does have a reasonable economic use zoned as AG.  There have been several large parcels sold in the area for single family homes, horse farms, a cattle farm and another for a family compound of three homes on 60 acres.  One 213-acre parcel planned for a subdivision was recently sold to a single owner that plans to use that land for horses or leave it undeveloped.  The owners of the property in this zoning case have never tried to sell their land as it is currently zoned.

Milton has increased the number of subdivisions and that is driving the horse farms to move further north.  Cherokee can benefit from that, but not if we don’t follow our land use plan.

Whether the zoning proposal will permit a use that is suitable in view of the use and development of adjacent and nearby property:

Adjacent and nearby properties are all zoned AG for miles surrounding this property.  They are currently used for estate homes on parcels with a minimum of 2 acres to over 100 acres.  There are both horse and cattle farms all over the surrounding area.  Subdivisions are not compatible with agricultural uses which is why so many small horse farms are re-locating from Milton. 

Whether the zoning proposal will adversely affect the existing use or usability of adjacent or nearby property:

If this zoning proposal is approved, it will adversely affect the current property owners in the area.  We will have increased traffic with no plans to improve the one road that every resident must travel to leave the area.  The children will be redistricted to new schools away from all their friends.  The residents of the surrounding area will lose the country life style they moved here for and the wildlife will be driven away. 

 

 

 

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