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Flowery Branch building approved for batting cages
City council OK'd warehouse off Atlanta Highway
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Flowery Branch City Council gave its OK Thursday night to an indoor batting cage operation in a warehouse/office building off Atlanta Highway.

Hot Shots Batting Co. will operate in one of four buildings in the Flowery Branch Technical Center, which sits between Radford Road and Thurmon Tanner Parkway.

The company will start with five batting cages and occupy 6,380 square feet of a 16,000-square-foot building.

"The hope is the business will expand into other parts of the building," City Planner James Riker told the council.

To move forward with the business, South Hall resident John Kight of Hot Shots needed to apply for a conditional use permit, as he intended to operate an "indoor commercial recreation facility" within the area's zoning designation of manufacturing and industrial.

Approval of the permit came with several conditions, including that the center's use be confined to "individual training of skills associated with baseball or softball" and the city would need to review parking plans if Hot Shots ever wanted to expand.

Kight personally asked the council for the permit.

"What we will try to do is provide ... a first-class batting cage facility where our youth can practice and refine their skills," he said. "Our business will provide up to four jobs initially and, as we expand, we hope to add on more jobs."

Milton resident Ken Morton, who owns the property with his father, also pushed for approval.

"We developed the technical park several years ago and we are very happy to be here this evening," he told the council. "We have been waiting for a tenant to step into this building for some time now."

Batting cages "go into parks like this all over North Georgia," Morton added, "so we've been looking for a tenant like (Kight). It would be a good fit for our park.

"We feel very good about this use and these folks going into this building."

Council approved the permit without any comments.

In other business, the council approved a bookkeeping move concerning $124,800 in tax allocation district money in the 2009-2010 budget, which ended June 30.

"It's not going to change the general fund balance or anything like that," City Manager Bill Andrew said.

Also, Andrew recommended the city not pursue a Georgia Department of Transportation Enhancement grant as the city at this time wouldn't have any specific uses for the money, which requires a 20 match from the city.

The state is accepting applications for the grants through Dec. 15.

The program helps pay for "multiuse facilities," such as walking and biking trails and paths, street improvements and landscaping projects, historic preservation of transportation-related structures (such as railroad depots) and preservation of scenic byways.

Flowery Branch is working on a Railroad Avenue project with grant money it has had for about two years.

"There are obstacles with the funding," Andrew said.

"It's compliance with regulations that really slows the project down."