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Council gives OK to zoning change
Bragg Road to be closed
Flowery Branch City council has voted to close its 3,964-foot portion of Bragg Road, a two-lane dirt road that runs next to Sterling on the Lake subdivision.

Flowery Branch officials batted down concerns Thursday night that property rezoned for light manufacturing and industrial uses last year would be affected by the creation of a heavy uses category.

City Council gave its first OK to a change in zoning law that created the heavy manufacturing category, a move inspired by the contentious February 2010 rezoning at McEver and Gaines Ferry roads.

Last year, area residents rallied to oppose a proposed manufacturing rezoning, fearing it would impede on the surrounding, mostly residential area.

The council ended up approving the rezoning, but tacked on several conditions and basically determined that the city should only allow for light uses in its manufacturing category, as it had done at that site.

It also directed staff to create heavy manufacturing zoning, which City Planner James Riker discussed at Thursday's meeting.

"This has absolutely nothing to do with the properties that were rezoned and annexed into the city," he said. "... At that (2010) public hearing, the council decided that it need to separate its one industrial zoning designation into two industrial zoning designations."

Through the City Council's adoption of a comprehensive land-use plan, Riker added, city leaders have "clearly identified there are areas that are appropriate for heavy industrial."

Those areas are predominantly along parts of Thurmon Tanner Parkway, Lafarge North America's Friendship Road quarry and a strip of property running along Interstate 985 and Hog Mountain Road.

In other business, the council voted to close its 3,964-foot portion of Bragg Road, a two-lane dirt road serving as a cut-through for many motorists.

Over the years, the city has received many complaints about the road's deteriorating condition and reports about illegal trash dumping and drug transactions, officials have said.

"A few years back, a drug deal went bad and two persons were killed on Bragg Road," said Flowery Branch Police Chief Gerald Lanich in a memo to Riker.

Part of the road, which skirts the massive Sterling on the Lake subdivision, is in Hall County. The council's vote also called for alerting Hall County about its action Thursday.

A public hearing was held on the matter, with several speakers agreeing the road should be closed.

Todd Adams also agreed but said he was concerned about the fate of a triangular piece of property on the county portion of Bragg. That 6-acre tract, he said, belongs to a family member and could be divided into eight lots and then sold.

"I understand that there's dust (from the road), but that dust has always been there," Adams said. "I don't want dust on my house, but I didn't build my house next to a dirt road."

Some have complained that dust from the road fills the air.

Riker said the city has been and still is willing to talk with Adams, the one resident who used to live on the road and Sterling's developer, Newland Communities, "to help facilitate a better solution to this area."