A developer wants to build an apartment community targeting lower-income families in western Gwinnett.
BH Affordable LLC has filed documents requesting the rezoning necessary to build a 168-unit complex at 1395 Winder Highway, southwest of Ga. 316 near Dacula. The project would be a low-income housing tax credit apartment development, documents said, with renters limited to households earning 60% or less of the area’s median income.
Doug Dillard, an attorney representing the developer, wrote in the rezoning application that about one-third of renters in the project’s target market area could meet that criteria.
The project would “greatly benefit and promote the public health and general welfare by providing high-quality workforce and affordable housing for County residents overburdened by housing costs,” Dillard wrote. “Applicant's proposed rezoning and multifamily community is consistent with the vision for the County's future development and stated goal in the County's Unified Plan to provide more high-quality affordable housing.”
Gwinnett County officials may not agree.
The 15-acre property is currently undeveloped and has three different zonings: RA-200 (agriculture-residence district), R-100 (single-family residence district) and MH (manufactured housing).
It would have to be rezoned to RM-13 (multifamily residence district) to make the proposed project a reality.
Gwinnett’s planning department staff has recommended denial of the rezoning because “an apartment community could be considered inconsistent with the existing residential development pattern of the area and could set a precedent for future higher density requests.”
The Gwinnett planning commission is scheduled to hold a vote on the proposal Tuesday. That body’s recommendation will be passed up to the county’s Board of Commissioners, which would hold a final vote at a later date.
Gwinnett County has a reputation for suburban affluence but also has one of metro Atlanta’s largest needs for more affordable housing. According to a 2018 report from the Atlanta Regional Commission, Gwinnett’s median gross rent of $1,043 was the highest in the region and about 53% of renters were considered cost-burdened. That means they spend a disproportionate amount of their income on housing costs.
The developer behind the project proposed near Dacula appears to be affiliated with BH Management, an Iowa-based company that operates communities across the country, including several in Gwinnett and metro Atlanta.
The Dacula-area development would include six three-story buildings, as well as an exercise facility, pool, dog park and clubhouse, according to documents. One-bedroom apartments would be about 750 square feet, with two-bedrooms around 950 square feet and three-bedrooms about 1,050 square feet.
The rezoning application did not list potential rent prices for the project.
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