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3 things to know before Thursday's Flowery Branch City Council meeting
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A potential railroad closing, proposals for downtown development and sewer rate changes are among the big items coming up at Flowery Branch City Council’s meeting Thursday, Nov. 15.

Railroad crossing

The city council postponed the vote Nov. 1 on potentially closing the Chattahoochee Street railroad crossing. Roughly 50 people attended the two public information meetings held Oct. 25.

According to the city council’s executive summary, Norfolk Southern’s manager grade crossing safety Will Miller said closing the crossing and installing a “lunar light” will not cost the city money.

Norfolk Southern would pay to install the light at Spring Street, which would reduce the need for trains to block the crossings at Spring Street and Lights Ferry Road.

City Manager Bill Andrew said Wednesday, Nov. 14, that he was unsure of the council’s leaning on the issue.

“Chattahoochee appears to be the logical closing because putting the signal at Spring Street will keep both Spring and Lights Ferry open with the use of the Lunar Light,” according to the executive summary. 

Tax allocation district

The tax allocation district advisory committee recommended investing $7.5 million in three projects.

The projects would help offset a portion of the costs for demolition and new construction on the former city hall and police department buildings, which would have 15 apartments and ground-level retail. 

Another project involves traffic signals and utility infrastructure for the 325 single-family detached homes on the Conner Property.

The third would create a multi-purpose field and other amenities for the Villages of East Main, a development boasting 63 townhomes and 31 single-family homes between East Main Street and Phil Niekro Boulevard. 

“The apartment development is within the tax allocation district, and they’ll create a value. What they’re asking is we use some of that value to build basically some more streetscape, a couple of parks, more parking here downtown,” Andrew said.

Two council members and Mayor Mike Miller are on the advisory committee and have all voted in favor, Andrew said.

Water and sewer rate changes

A 5 percent increase on base and unit charges is recommended in a review by Nelsnick Enterprises, a consulting firm working with the city as it assesses it capital improvement plan.

The rate changes would take effect Dec. 1.

The city council raised the water and sewer rates by 4 percent last year, but there had been no increases since 2014.

According to Nelsnick Enterprises, the expected new development volume through 2028 “is expected to add approximately 750,000 (gallons) per day of wastewater on a peak day basis.”

Nelsnick is recommending water and sewer rate increases over the next five years “based on infrastructure improvements needed in our system,” according to the city’s executive summary.

Nelsnick also recommended a $1,003 per equivalent dwelling unit on wastewater system development charges, which is a cost incurred for new developments.

“It doesn’t affect anyone who is using sewer now. It only affects someone who is using capacity in the plant for the future,” Andrew said.

Reporter Jeff Gill contributed to this report.

Flowery Branch City Council Meeting

When: 6 p.m. Nov. 15

Where: Flowery Branch City Hall, 5410 Pine St., Flowery Branch