TSW aims to get the new code in front of the town council by next year, but not before giving residents a say. The consultant will host a community workshop on May 5, following public forums held in prior months.
A top concern among residents is increased traffic as Braselton continues to expand. With I-85 and several state highways running through it, the town needs to prioritize controlled growth, Basham said.
“We cannot become a bypass,” said Basham, who ran for a town council seat in 2019. “We need to control the types of businesses that would pull people off of the freeway as a stop. We want (Braselton) to be a destination.”
Population of Braselton
Nestled in the counties of Barrow, Gwinnett, Hall and Jackson, Braselton saw substantial growth in recent decades. The Atlanta Regional Commission expects the town to continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace, adding about 7,500 residents by 2045.
U.S. Census Bureau, Atlanta Regional Commission
Basham believes the town needs to add more destination spots like lavish Chateau Elan, attract locally owned businesses and repurpose vacant warehouses. The town also needs more greenspaces, Basham said. Town officials agree, as they plan to build a 71-acre park off Ga. 124 in the next few years, said Kevin Keller, planning director of Braselton.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is widening Ga. 211, hopefully starting construction on the next phase by next year, Keller said. While the code determines what kind of development occurs in every part of town, projects like these will help Braselton keep up with more growth, he said.
Besides fixing the confusing language in the code, TSW will ensure it curbs the council’s need to hand out as many zoning variances as in recent years, Giles said. The consultant is tasked with crafting the code to “raise the bar” on development quality, simplify regulations, make sure it matches the comprehensive plan’s vision, balance property rights with community vision and protect open space, he said.
“We want to make sure (the code) is easy to read and legally sound,” he said. “But how development looks or where density happens–all of that is up to the community.”