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Flowery Branch may limit access on problem dirt road
Some dump trash, old appliances and furniture at site
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Flowery Branch is looking at closing a portion of Bragg Road, which runs next to Sterling on the Lake. Plans look at including it as part of a bigger trail system connecting South Hall parks. - photo by Tom Reed

Flowery Branch City Council meeting

When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: City Hall, 5517 Main St.
Contact: flowerybranchga.org or
770-967-6371

Bragg Road, once a two-lane country dirt road, is now a busy cut-through and nuisance to its neighbors, the sprawling, suburban-like Sterling on the Lake subdivision.

Especially in the summer, traffic stirs up "a huge cloud of clay dust, and it settles on our backyards and our screened rooms, all over everything," said Glen Gumpert, who lives in Sterling near Bragg and Blackjack roads.

"People who drive those old ‘Dukes of Hazzard'-type cars get out there and race up and down (the road), and they like to hear the engine roar and (see) the tires kick up dust," Gumpert said.

Problems could ease for the area's residents as Flowery Branch and Hall County, which jointly own the road, are looking at eventually closing most of the road to through traffic.

Flowery Branch City Council is set to address the matter at its Thursday meeting. Staff is recommending that Hayes, James & Associates of Norcross do some surveying work related to a truck turnaround on the road.

"We are not taking action to close the road at this time," City Planner James Riker said.

"This (contract) is a step toward (closing) it."

Bragg Road runs between Capitola Farm and Blackjack roads and has one resident, Ernest Bragg, who couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

Plans call for keeping Bragg Road open between Capitola Farm Road and Bragg's home, then closing it the rest of the way to Blackjack.

Through the annexation that resulted in Sterling's development, Flowery Branch owns portions of Bragg Road at both ends and Hall County owns a portion in the middle.

"The arrangement we have with the county is that they scrape (the road) because they have equipment to do that," Riker said. "And we pick up trash and debris that's illegally dumped on it."

As part of the effort to close Bragg, County Fire Marshall Scott Cagle has requested that the turnaround be built on property that is owned by Newland Communities, developer of the 2,000-acre subdivision.

"Newland has agreed to provide this area if the city prepares the necessary easement documents," Riker said in a document prepared for the City Council. "A survey and legal description of the easement area are required."

Hayes-James, which would be paid $750 for its services, "did a lot of the original surveying for Sterling on the Lake, so they have a lot of this information already," Riker said.

A road closing would entail separate actions taken by the city and county governments - a move certain to please many area residents.

The city has received "numerous complaints over the years about its condition," Riker said. "Our police chief has indicated on several occasions he believes the existence of the road allows illegal and unlawful activity to occur."

Mayor Mike Miller, a Sterling resident, said people dump trash, old appliances and furniture off the road and "it's our responsibility to clean that up."

In addition, people stop on the road to hold parties.

"We're always finding beer and ... alcohol bottles down there," Miller said.

Flowery Branch has talked about eventually turning the road into a multiuse trail that would be part of a larger system, possibly connecting to Hall's nearby Cherokee Bluffs and Williams Mill parks and even Bogan Park in Gwinnett County.

"We're looking long-term there, wishful thinking and hoping we can tie it in and make (Bragg Road) a positive for everybody in the area," Miller said.

Greg Walker, Hall's Parks and Leisure Services director, couldn't be reached for comment.

As for Gumpert, he is pleased by the actions the city and county are taking.

"It sounds positive," he said. "All I can do is support them and keep my fingers crossed."

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