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Flowery Branch looking at planning grant
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Flowery Branch could begin exploring with neighboring South Hall cities the possibility of getting some planning money under a new federal program.

City Council agreed with City Manager Bill Andrew on Thursday night that he should investigate the grant program with Oakwood, Buford and Braselton, as well as the area’s main attraction, Lake Lanier Islands.

“It was the idea that ... we could maybe put together a plan looking at economic development, infrastructure development, roads, water and sewer, parks perhaps and different issues with transportation,” Andrew told the council.

The U.S. government has $100 million set aside for Sustainable Communities Planning Grants nationwide, with $25 million of that for small metropolitan areas such as South Hall. Small metro areas can apply for up to $2 million.

Andrew cited Gainesville-based real estate executive Frank Norton’s comment during a presentation earlier this week that South Hall, from Chicopee Woods south, by itself would be the 15th largest county in the state.

He said he believed the grant pursuit “would be unique with those many cities working together.”

Andrew added that Oakwood and Buford have expressed interest already and that he hasn’t spoken yet with Braselton or Lake Lanier Islands.

In other business, the council voted to allow brewpubs, or restaurants where beer is made and served on the premises, limiting them to making 5,000 barrels per calendar year.

It also changed its alcoholic beverages law requiring only that license applicants must be at least 21, “a resident of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, and a resident of (Georgia).”

The changes were made so that Paul Coggins of Suwanee can go forward with plans to open a brewpub, Toasted & Tapped, at the Flowery Branch Yacht Club, a former fine dining restaurant on Main and Church streets.

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