Named Black Branch Point, a new riverside subdivision along Point Mallard Drive Southeast will feature 32 estate homes and 42 smaller homes.

The Decatur Planning Commission approved the subdivision plat in a meeting Tuesday and recommended the City Council change the zoning from manufacturing to residential.

The owners, Grey Stone Properties and Land Services, are led by local real estate broker Jeff Parker.

"This was the best use for that property," Parker said. "The more we clean it up, the more I saw what a beautiful piece of land this is and that it needed to be residential."

Parker said he considered developing it as an industrial property, "but the community needs these residential homes."

Parker and his partners bought the 43 acres, north of Point Mallard Drive and west of the Point Mallard Golf Course, from General Electric in July. The Planning Commission recommended approving the application to rezone 29.64 acres to residential.

Blake McAnally, of Pugh Wright McAnally Engineering Services, said the 42 smaller homes will be on 5,000-square-foot lots “that are comparable to Park Place,” a nearby patio home subdivision on the south side of Point Mallard Drive.

Parker said these homes will likely range from 2,500 to 4,000 square feet, depending on the owner's preference and price point.

The 32 estate homes will be on 7,000-square-foot lots.

"These are estate-sized lots that will likely have larger homes," Parker said. "But I don't care what size they build their home."

City Planner Karen Smith said each group of homes will be in residential zoning that fits their size and style. She said the developer plans to build on big lots that give the contractor flexibility.

Nothing can be built under a Tennessee Valley Authority power line running through the property. McAnally said this land will be left for general neighborhood use.

Parker in August said the river along his development is shallow and isn't usable during winter pool. He said Tuesday he decided not to dredge this area because of the extreme cost involved.

"We're just developing the lots and selling them," Parker said. "If someone wants to dredge the river in front of their home, they're welcome to do so."

Smith said the city’s tech-review committee is requiring the developer to widen the subdivision’s road where it accesses Point Mallard Drive.

Brenda West, of Brandywine Street Southwest, told the Planning Commission on Tuesday she is concerned about the increased traffic and noise the new subdivision would create.

“At two cars a day, that’s only 140 more cars a day (created by the new subdivision),” Planning Commission Chairman Kent Lawrence said. “That’s not enough to impact a four-lane road.”

John Seymour, president and CEO of the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, lives in Park Place.

“I was sitting out on the back porch with my wife the other evening and I told her, ‘This is like living in the country,’ ” Seymour said. “There was nobody on Point Mallard Drive.”

Regency Drive Southeast resident Gerald Maxwell said the city and developer should be aware that part of the development is in a flood plain. 

McAnally said a flood plain can be built on as long as the home is built at the appropriate level.

General Electric sold its nearby refrigerator-manufacturing plant in 2016 to Haier U.S. Appliance Solutions Inc., a subsidiary of China-based Qingdao Haier Co., as part of Haier's $5.6 billion purchase of GE Appliances. The plant still uses the GE Appliances name.

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