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Flowery Branch annexations involve commercial, industrial zones
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Listen to Brett Barwick, founding president of South Hall Homeowners Association, as he reacts to Flowery Branch rezoning and annexation proposals set for a public hearing and possible vote Thursday.
Proposed annexations and rezonings
What: Flowery Branch City Council has scheduled a public hearing and first reading on actions involving property at McEver and Gaines Ferry roads.
When: 6 p.m.
Where: City Hall, 5517 Main St.,
Flowery Branch
Contacts: 770-967-6371

Flowery Branch is looking to expand its southwestern boundaries, with a proposal to annex and rezone properties off McEver at Gaines Ferry roads.

Flowery Branch City Council has scheduled a public hearing — and its first vote — for 6 p.m. Thursday on the annexation of nearly 45 1/2 acres split among five parcels, ranging in size from 1 to 20 acres, off the two roads.

The applicant, Rochester & Associates of Gainesville, also wants to rezone the area to highway business and manufacturing and industrial.

In another petition, Rochester is seeking rezoning of nearly 31 1/2 acres next to the properties and farther north on McEver Road to manufacturing and industrial — land currently zoned in the city for neighborhood shopping.

Rochester is representing Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Stonebridge LLC and Alpharetta-based Kelly Family Investments on the matter.

All the lots are vacant, except for some landscaping and subdivision signs.

And there are no plans for any immediate development, said City Planner James Riker.

“The city is in the process of running a sewer line from Cinnamon Cove in this general area,” he said, referring to the condominium complex at 6500 Gaines Ferry Road.

“The owners inquired as to how they could get sewer service ... and the requirement for getting sewer service from us is being in the city. So, that’s what initiated these applications.”

Hall County has said it doesn’t object to the annexation proposals and the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, based in Gainesville, has said it believes the proposed plans don’t warrant a “development of regional impact” review, according to city documents.

City officials have met with neighboring residents, as well as members of the South Hall Homeowners Association, on the proposals.
Brett Barwick, an area resident and founding president of the neighborhood group, said he heard about the proposals from Riker, who “wanted to give us an opportunity to learn about (them) before the public hearing.”

Initially, he felt comfortable with the plans in general, although he had some reservations about the manufacturing aspects.
“It seemed like a heavy usage to us for that area,” said Barwick.

After more consideration, “we were still concerned,” he added.

Another meeting took place between Riker and residents.

“He came back and happily eliminated many of the uses we were not comfortable with,” Barwick said. “We went back and shared that with the neighbors and a ... fair number of them were still uncomfortable with just the fact that it (would) go to industrial zoning.”

He added that, concerning the whole matter, “I’m spearheading an effort for everybody to learn their facts.”
As for the sewer project, the city plans to build two sewer lift stations, including one replacing an aging sewer plant at the Cinnamon Cove, and a force main line.

The project is expected to cost $1.3 million, with funding coming from the city’s special purpose local option sales tax.

“We’ve finished the surveying and probably are 85 percent done with the design,” City Manager Bill Andrew said. “Best-case scenario, we probably could be bidding this out in summer or fall and starting construction shortly after that.”

Construction could take six to eight months, he said.

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