A city historic preservation board gave Flowery Branch its blessing Tuesday to the South Hall city’s plans for a new City Hall.
After a brief presentation by city planner Rich Atkinson, the Flowery Branch Historic Preservation Commission gave its OK to approving a certificate of appropriateness for the $5 million structure.
“Feel good that the building will reflect the sense of history of the town and all that,” City Manager Bill Andrew told the commission.
“The brick … has a historic look to it,” he said. “Strangely, when we were looking at the different brick patterns, they almost matched the wall that’s inside the administration building — basically the wall we share with Common Grounds (coffee shop).”
City administrative offices and Common Grounds are on Main Street, which is filled with historic buildings.
Groundbreaking for the 18,000-square-foot brick building off Railroad Avenue, just north of Main Street, is expected in November, a month later than expected.
And although the project has gotten the proper OKs with the Flowery Branch City Council — both in scope and financing — city officials felt getting the historic board’s approval was also essential.
“Technically, the city doesn’t have to follow its own zoning, historic preservation rules and all that,” City Manager Bill Andrew has said. “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.”
Such a move is necessary before “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.
When the project is finished, the new City Hall will bring under one roof offices now spaced out on Main Street, including a City Council room that becomes very crowded during controversial meetings.
It also will include space for the police department, now confined to a square brick building off the corner of Main and Church streets.
The new building should be completed by July.
Also part of the project is an extension of Pine Street from Church Street to Railroad Avenue, running past the new City Hall.