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Flowery Branch Historic preservation board vacant, with this major project looming
Downtown Flowery Branch - photo by Scott Rogers

All five positions on Flowery Branch’s Historic Preservation Commission are open at once, as one member has died, one has moved out of the city and three others have left the board.

It’s not the best timing either, as a proposal is looming to turn property in the downtown historic district into a multi-use development featuring apartments and retail.

But City Manager Bill Andrew said this week he’s confident the board could be filled by March and prepared as needed to hear about the request. Members also will get some in-house training.

Atlanta-based The Residential Group’s project calls for 15 apartments and 7,700 square feet of ground-level retail on a Main Street site now occupied by the former City Hall and police station.

The historic board is involved in proposals when there’s “any material change in appearance of the designated historic property or any structure, site or work of art located within a designated historic district,” according to the city code.

That was the case in October 2016, when the city sought the board’s OK in building the new City Hall on Pine Street.

“Technically, the city doesn’t have to follow its own zoning, historic preservation rules and all that,” Andrew said at the time. “But we feel like we should. That’s what we ask other people to do, so I guess we’re submitting ourselves to our own regulations.”

The preservation board also gave its blessing to a new commercial building on Main and Mitchell streets in 2017. The building houses three businesses: Beer Me, Lakeside Market and Home Care Matters.

The Residential Group also is planning to build a 324-unit apartment building off Phil Niekro Boulevard at Thurmon Tanner Parkway.

Work on the projects could begin this year and completed in 2021, said Kurt R. Alexander, principal for The Residential Group, in December.

Help wanted

Anyone interested in possibly serving on the Flowery Branch Historic Preservation Commission can call community development director Rich Atkinson at 770-967-6371.