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Oakwood keeps on growing: Planning board approves more land to be annexed
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The Oakwood Zoning and Planning Board met Monday evening and approved the annexation of two private properties currently used as residences. The properties are two of more than 100 parcels of land Oakwood has annexed since Jan. 1. The two parcels amount to about two acres.

"The map has changed in the past year, especially in the past six months," said Oakwood Planning Director Larry Sparks.

Approximately 200 acres of land near the Publix on Winder Highway was annexed by Oakwood in March, and the city annexed an additional 122 acres of mixed-use zoned property near the intersection of Martin Road and Falcon Highway in August.

The 122-acre annexation marked the city’s first mixed-use addition.

"Our ability to grow as a city is constrained by the fact that we have the City of Gainesville to the north and northeast; we have the lake to the west and the northwest; and the city of Flowery Branch to the south and the southeast; and we kind of have only one way to go and that’s along the Winder Highway corridor," Sparks said.

Sparks said the city has identified the corridor along Winder Highway as the city’s growth corridor in Oakwood’s Comprehensive Plan.

"We’ve started to get requests for (city) services along there," Sparks said.

And the Oakwood City Council approved the extension of city sewer lines to the Winder Highway corridor at the Nov. 12 work session. The city approved the agreement between Oakwood and Braselton that allows Oakwood to purchase sewer capacity in the neighboring city’s water treatment plant. Sparks said more sewer capacity is needed before Oakwood can host more residential growth.

He added that the annexations have not had a negative effect on city services because most additions to the city are not residential. Sparks said the city currently maintains 80 percent industrial and commercial properties and 20 percent residential properties.

In addition, Sparks said Oakwood’s population is not expected to grow immensely over the next few years. Instead, the city is focusing on growing commercial and retail operations.

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