The Bush Road development has not been without controversary since the developer broke ground last month.
The 10-acre property was purchased for slightly under $1 million by developer Marty Orr of Buford. But several months later, he sold his interest and a new developer, Bret Clark came in with different set of plans.
Clark reduced the number of homes from 19 to 16, the lot sizes are larger than the original plans - and the homes are also considerably larger.
"Overall, it's going to be a nicer community when we get done with it," said Bret Clark, Peachtree Reserve's new developer.
Clark, along with Matt Rhule, with Re/Max Alliance of Duluth, the company that will be marketing the property, have taken some heat from nearby homeowners over the new plans that included relocating a retention pond.
The original plans which received the stamp of approval by the surrounding homeowners, were changed when the new developer stepped in.
And homeowners were taken aback when what they thought was an agreement not to clear cut the property - and to leave a buffer of natural vegetation and trees along Bush Road was not honored.
A resolution was filed and approved by the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners spelling out that agreement between the surrounding homeowners and the developer.
Those agreements have been met said Bryan Lackey, the county's Planning and Development Director. Lackey said buffers can be required on the sides and back of property - but not the land that fronts a street.
Clark said moving the retention pond was a positive step not a negative one. The orignal plans called for a 250-foot retaining wall.
"It was an eye sore," said Clark. "It jumped off the page when I first saw the plans. We're building $500,000 homes, we thought moving the pond would improve the looks of the development from Bush Road."
In addition, GDOT required a 10-foot right of way along Bush Road, which took away some of the property originally planned for planting shrubs and trees making it difficult to plan attractive landscaping around the pond in its original location.
But still, there is concern in the community that the developer wouldn't be able to sell the homes and would go belly-up leaving the property stripped of its natural vegetation with nothing more than a crop of blue PVC pipes sticking up out of the ground.
Rhule, the Re/Max agent who will be marketing the homes said that the developer is on solid ground financially. "There are no loans on the land," said Rhule. "It was a cash transation."
Bob Martell, who lives across the street in the Scotts Mill subdivision, was dismayed as he watched the bull dozers clear the land. It was not what he envisioned when he and other homeowers met with the original developer.
"It's done now," said Martell of the now bare property he views each morning from his kitchen window. "We knew the property would eventially be developed." But he said he was relieved after hearing that the new developer was on solid financial footing.
Clark said he hopes to have the first furnished model home ready by March 2013 but that will depend on the weather. A wet winter will delay construction.
A copy of the new plans is attached with this article. Click on the PDF to the right to view and print.
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