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Flowery Branch considers zoning laws tweaks
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Flowery Branch City Council plans to hold a public hearing Thursday on some minor tweaks to its zoning law.

Basically, the changes reflect city efforts “to better comply with recent changes in state law and some technical and procedural provisions that we found to be a little inaccurate within our code,” City Planner James Riker said.

“It’s kind of a running tab we’ve had for a couple of years of little changes or items that have come up that perhaps would be better if there was a little clarification.”

One area the city has focused on is making sure it complies with the Religious Land Uses and Institutional Persons Act, a federal law passed in 2000 that, among other things, is designed to protect religious institutions against discrimination in zoning matters.

“We had a couple of provisions related to where churches, temples, synagogues and places of worship were allowed and, to be consistent with other places of assembly, we had to make a couple of changes on our land-use chart,” Riker said.

“(We had) to make sure that they were treated on equal footing as other places of assembly.”

Overall, the city is making the changes “on our own,” he added. “This isn’t necessitated by any pending applications or anything like that. We’re just trying to be proactive.”

The city is recommending the changes under advice from its attorneys, Riker said.

The public hearing is set for 6 p.m. at City Hall, 5517 Main St., with a first-reading vote on an ordinance outlining the changes set for later in the meeting.

The city also is holding a public hearing on a proposal to rezone three-tenths of an acre at 5710 Gainesville St. from low-density residential to central business district.

 The applicant has not specified a use or development for the property.

The hearings will follow swearing-in ceremonies for the mayor and new Post 4 City Council member.

Mike Miller and Mike Pitts are facing each other in the mayor’s race on Tuesday. Joseph Anglin is the lone candidate for the Post 4 seat, so he will become the new council member by default.

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