The meeting was conducted in council chambers by the company proposing the development, Dewar Properties, and attracted about 55 residents who turned out to question developers about the planned multi-family project.
Dewar is considering building a 64-unit apartment complex for workforce housing at the south end of Old Canton Road. The complex would be called Stone Valley Apartments.
Randy Wilt, a Ball Ground resident and business owner, said he and neighbors went to Thursday night’s meeting to voice their opposition to the project, citing the lower minimum income level required and the potential for reducing local property values.
“Property values will be diminished, home values will be diminished, everybody’s convinced this will harm the growth of Ball Ground,” Wilt said.
Wilt also raised concerns about the proximity of the complex to the newly built Ball Ground Elementary School and said he feared that the development could later be turned into Section 8 housing.
The meeting was the second by developers to meet with residents.
After a May 25 meeting, residents became concerned when it was revealed that the minimum annual income for a single-occupant unit was actually $16,000, not $29,000 as had earlier been stated. The $29,000 annual income is the maximum for the development.
The meetings were also conducted to clear the hurdle of having a public meeting in time to receive state tax credits. That deadline was Thursday, said City Clerk Karen Jordan.
The 7.6 acres where the development is to be located was zoned in 2004 as a part of a 132-acre tract rezoned Transitional Neighborhood Development, which allows for multi-housing developments and mixed use.
Jordan, who attended the meeting on Thursday, said citizens were concerned with the type of housing going in.
“It is workforce housing and is being misconstrued as Section 8 housing,” Jordan said. “Certain income requirement must be met to obtain a unit.”
At its May 11 meeting, the Ball Ground City Council approved a resolution in support of the development.
City Manager Eric Wilmarth, who also attended Thursday night’s meeting, confirmed the actual income number Friday.
He said a Dewar Properties representative, in an email correspondence to Mayor Rick Roberts, provided what they claimed was the minimum income level requirement for each number of occupants — $29,800 for a single occupant — and that information was what the mayor and council based their resolution on.
“I knew at that point that’s not what had been presented (at the City Council meeting,)” Wilmarth said. “They said they made a mistake (and) ‘we sent you the maximums.’”
Wilmarth said Roberts is communicating with officials at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and will receive a letter detailing the department’s findings on the matter.
Wilmarth said the city anticipates a public hearing in early to mid-July and the Department of Community Affairs will make its decision regarding the complex’s approval sometime in December.
He made it clear, however, that the matter is not a zoning issue.
“The property is zoned to allow for 66 multi-family units and was zoned Nov. 18, 2004,” he said. “Dewar Properties could drop their (state tax credit) application tomorrow and construct 66 units at whatever income level they want.”
Based on the new information, Wilmarth said the City Council could state it supports, no longer supports or remains silent during the recommendation period for the apartments.
A spokesperson for Dewar Properties was not available for comment Friday.