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SKF USA seeking to become part of Flowery Branch
Annexation would fulfill 5-year vow as part of sewer tie-in
11062017 FLOWERY 1

A major South Hall employer is looking to annex into Flowery Branch, five years after connecting to the city’s sewer system.

SKF USA at 5385 McEver Road has requested the annexation totaling 63.46 acres, as well as rezoning from Hall County heavy industrial to the city’s heavy manufacturing and industrial district.

A public hearing on the company’s request is set before the Flowery Branch City Council at 6 p.m. Nov. 16 in City Hall at 5517 Main St. The council also is set to give first reading on the matter, with a final vote scheduled for Dec. 7.

Flowery Branch City Council

What: Proposed rezoning/annexation for SKF USA at 5385 McEver Road

When: 6 p.m. Nov. 16

Where: Flowery Branch City Hall, 5517 Main St.

The prospect of SKF entering the city is “very exciting,” Mayor Mike Miller said last week.

“They will become our largest employer and help with our goal of leveling out the unbalance of residential versus commercial/retail,” he said.

The city’s tax base has traditionally been about 80 residential and 20 percent commercial.

“Ideally, the goal would be to have a 70 percent commercial/retail to 30 percent residential, but that is a long-term goal,” Miller said.

SKF, which also borders Radford Road, was established locally in 1975. The company, with 250 employees, makes antifriction precision ball bearings.

In April 2012, the company and Flowery Branch reached an agreement that required SKF to pursue annexation by late 2017.

“It doesn’t cost the city anything, and we’ve got the opportunity to bring in a winning company,” Councilman Joe Anglin said at the time.

Movement toward the agreement began in 2011, when SKF approached the city with concerns about its septic system.

“In talking to state and county officials, and the city of Flowery Branch, the desired outcome was that SKF would connect to the city sewer system,” City Attorney Ron Bennett said in April 2012.

One of the hurdles for SKF was that a sewer connection “wasn’t quite as economically feasible as repairing the septic system,” he said.

“So, the parties got together a made a determination that if annexation can be delayed … to save on city taxes, business license fees and whatnot, there could be a negotiated tap fee rate (and) SKF would be willing to come into the city,” Bennett said.

“I feel that while they’re not annexing (immediately), they’ve already become a partner with the city in working with us to help them fulfill their needs in employing folks and help us ... in growing the city,” City Manager Bill Andrew said.

SKF spokeswoman Wendy Earle couldn’t be reached for comment.

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