Lula recently decided a proposed 519-home subdivision needs more time for review.
Lula City Council voted June 20 to conduct a development of regional impact study on the proposal after residents, Lula Planning Commission members and Lula Planning Director and City Manager Dennis Bergin raised concerns about traffic, water/sewer access and the impact of the development on schools.
It is one of the largest subdivisions ever proposed in the small city in northeast Hall, which has a population of about 2,822, according to the 2020 census.
The project at 6232 Athens St. would take about 7 to 10 years to build out, said Kevin Seifert of Pacific Group Inc., the Atlanta-based developer. The 202-acre development requires annexation into the city and rezoning from agricultural residential use to planned residential development.
“We expect the DRI will suggest improvements that we’re already contemplating,” Seifert said.
Improvements could include traffic-related additions such as a left-hand turn lane into the subdivision and traffic signal lighting, he said.
“When you hit a certain threshold of lots, you go through this process just to make sure there’s not anything the city or us is missing in the planning process,” Seifert said.
Residents at a June planning commission meeting said the project could cause major traffic issues when turning onto Ga. 365 coming out of the city. A traffic light may be necessary at the intersection of Athens Street and Ga. 365 down the line, but that decision is up to the Georgia Department of Transportation, Seifert said. That intersection only has a stop sign to direct traffic onto the divided highway.
The study was sent to the Georgia Mountain Regional Commission, and it allows other local jurisdictions and state agencies to comment on the development over a 30-day period, GMRC Planning Director Adam Hazell said.
Bergin said he expects to get comments back on the project in mid-July.
The proposal still must be voted on by the Lula Planning Commission, which initially tabled the vote. The planning commission makes a recommendation, and then the item would go before the city council for final action. The next voting meeting regarding the subdivision is not set.
The city council has just three voting council members and a mayor after two council members recently resigned. Any action must receive all three votes to pass.