Aug. 12—On Thursday, the Hall County Board of Commissioners consented to a de-annexation request by a Gainesville real estate developer who wants to transfer a 58-acre plot of land from the city to the county, a move opposed by the county school board.
Capstone Property Group has plans to build a 342-unit luxury apartment complex at 2866 Lanier Tech Drive, called Capstone at Inland Crossing.
The Gainesville City Council is expected to grant final approval for the de-annexation Tuesday, Aug. 16.
The city was unwilling to approve the apartments, which is why Capstone wants the property de-annexed into the county.
"When they (the developer) approached the city with a concept of residential, our desire was to keep that specific area in place for industrial use," said council member Juli Clay. "So once the developer or property owner got that feedback from us at the city, that's when they decided to choose to do de-annexation with the county."
However, the developer will request connection to city sewer and water, which is not unusual, Clay said.
Hall County is expected to approve the apartments. And if de-annexation moves ahead, the commission would consider a request in October to rezone the property from industrial to residential.
The de-annexation has met pushback from the Hall County school board, which voted Monday to begin drafting a resolution opposing the move.
Hall County school board members argue that the apartments would add more students to their school system and thus more costs — and the added property tax revenue, they say, would not offset the cost of educating more students.
But Jonathan Collins of Capstone Property Group says that would not be the case.
"These new class-A developments, and Solis (Gainesville) is certainly another example of this ... is not producing ... school-aged children at a level which apartments did in the past," he said. "The overall development will have little to no three-bedroom units."
Likewise, Richard Higgins, chairman of the Hall County Board of Commissioners, says the apartments would mainly be rented by young, childless professionals from nearby Lanier Tech and Kubota Manufacturing.
School board members aren't convinced.
"I know it's geared toward students at Lanier Tech and that type of thing, but, again, if you build an apartment complex, there's going to be families moving there," said Craig Herrington, chair of the Hall County school board. "Unless they put age restrictions ... that's going to wind up with some children."
Collins said there will be no age restrictions.
Gainesville Mayor Sam Couvilon said Monday that their city school board opposed the apartments for similar reasons, and that was one reason why the council did not approve the development.