Dacula annexes, rezones horse farm for 264 homes

DACULA - Starlight Farms is gone and in its place will stand 264 new homes priced in the mid-$200,000s. Dacula City Councilmen voted unanimously to annex and rezone 46.3 acres on Harbins Road from residential/agricultural in unincorporated Gwinnett County to transitional residential district in Dacula.

Starlight Farms was sandwiched between a new home community and one under construction. The annexation will join the former horse farm property to Bentley Estates subdivision being developed next door. The developer, Harbins West LLC, will combine the two properties into one 264-home development - five homes less than the two communities had planned separately - for a density of 2.8 homes per acre. The community will offer a junior Olympic swimming pool, clubhouse, children's playground and two tennis courts. Twenty-five percent of the property will be preserved as greenspace.

Dacula's planning and zoning board recommended approval of the project. Curvy, two-lane Harbins Road west of Ga. Highway 316 has been the sight of vigorous development recently. In the last two years, councilmen approved two rezonings for new home developments and one for a children's day care center. Each time, local residents packed Dacula's council chambers, voicing concerns about road conditions, excess traffic and an overburdened school system.

No one spoke against the project in Thursday's council meeting. Councilman Tim Montgomery stated that council should look deeper into how future rezonings will actually affect the existing area.

"Every request that has come before me has had a one-word answer to whether or not nearby properties will be negatively impacted by the proposed development," Montgomery said. "That one word is 'No.' It questions our intelligence to state that projects don't have an impact. We need a mildly comprehensive report on future projects, rather than just the word 'No.'"