Part of a site and near Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Braselton campus that was once expected to be used for a major mixed use-development on the Gwinnett-Hall county line may end being used for a 308-unit gated retirement community instead, according to Gwinnett County documents.

VDC Development Group is seeking a rezoning and two special use permits for the 544,950-square-foot community, which would be located between Thompson Mill Road and the county line. A site plan shows two entrances, one on the 5900 block of Thompson Mill Road and another at the county line on the backside of the community with an exit road leading north across the line toward Friendship Road, which is a few yards away in Hall County.

“The applicant’s vision and primary focus for the area under consideration for this rezoning is to provide opportunities for housing, wellness, services and a lifestyle component for a segment of the senior population that is (62) years and older,” the developer said in its Letter of Intent.

“With that in mind, the applicant, VDC Development Group LLC, requests a rezoning from MUO to O & I with a special use permit to allow a gated senior living offering for residents 62 years of age or older.”

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The retirement community proposal is scheduled to go before the Gwinnett County Planning Commission for a public hearing and vote on Tuesday. The county’s planning and development staff has recommended approval with conditions.

A final decision on the proposal, however, will be made at a later date by the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners after the Planning Commission makes its own recommendation on the proposal.

VDC Development Group wants the site changed to an office-institutional district zoning. It is also seeking one special use permit to allow a retirement community on the site and another special use permit to allow a building height of 57 feet.

In 2008, the site was part of a larger tract of land that was rezoned to mixed-use office for a development that was expected to include a hotel and office and retail spaces as well as condos and townhomes. None of that ever came to fruition, however.

“The MUO was approved by Gwinnett County in 2008 prior to the construction of Northeast Georgia Medical Center,” VDC officials said in their letter of intent. “Del Webb has also developed two of their Active Adult housing communities in the immediate area with other senior housing facilities also opening in the area.”

County documents show the part of the land where the retirement community is now being proposed would have, if the mixed-use development had come to fruition, housed 100 regular townhomes, 16 live/work townhomes, a community park and a single commercial retail building.

The retirement community, if approved by Gwinnett officials, would include 14 four-story buildings with 22 units in each building. The density for the site would be 26.74 units per acre.

The plans call for buildings designed in French provincial and English manor styles, among other building styles. There would be four units on the first floor of each building with six units on the second, third and fourth floors.

The retirement community would only be independent living residents, meaning there would be no space set aside for memory care or assisted living patients.

There would be an average of 1,136 square feet of heated space in each unit, which would include a full kitchen, dining and living areas, an outdoor patio or balcony, bedrooms and bathrooms with walk-in showers.

VDC officials also laid out some of their future plans for the community in their letter of intent.

“The proposed plan is that once the development becomes more occupied there will be a catering restaurant located in the commercial area of the MUO where residents can have a full dining experience or can choose to have meals delivered to their home on an as-needed basis,” the developer said.

“Also, there are plans to have a wellness/clubhouse facility in the MUO portion of the community that residents will have available for exercise as well as other social group activities.”

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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