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Why planners oppose this new Methodist church relocating in Flowery Branch
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This artist's rendering shows the concept for a new church building McEver Road United Methodist Church has proposed off McEver Road at Gainesville Street in Flowery Branch.

Flowery Branch staff is opposing McEver Road United Methodist Church’s proposal to build a new church off McEver Road at Gainesville Street, saying it believes that corner should be reserved for neighborhood shopping. 

City officials are recommending denial of the church building off McEver Road and Gainesville Street as it is set to go before the Flowery Branch City Council at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 27.

The city’s land-use plan “calls for this site to be neighborhood commercial,” says a staff report, citing area subdivisions under construction. “It should be a commercial development that serves nearby neighborhoods and the city as a whole.”

McEver Road UMC, currently at 3606 McEver Road, is trying to rezone the 11.3-acre site, which is also across from Jim Crow Road, from agricultural to institutional to enable the project.

The busy intersection, which serves as a main gateway to downtown Flowery Branch, includes a subdivision being built, a gas station, restaurants and other retail. Hall County and Flowery Branch rebuilt the intersection a couple of years ago, adding turn lanes.

“The large influx of residential feeds the need for local services to be provided,” the report states.

The report also cites concerns over road issues, saying “McEver Road itself has issues that will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.”

The city came out in opposition to the project at the City Council’s meeting last week, as City Manager Bill Andrew was talking about the city’s stake in a bigger picture concerning the development of McEver Road, a main traffic artery running from Buford to Gainesville.

Andrew also expressed concerns over a rezoning in Hall County concerning a proposed boat and RV storage off McEver at Lights Ferry Road.

“It just seems to me that the property owner is missing out on a higher and better use for that site, with the availability of sewer,” Andrew said.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday, June 25, to approve a rezoning for the boat and RV storage.

The Rev. Rob Bruce, McEver Road UMC’s pastor, said the church appreciates “the opportunity to meet with the city officials for them to hear our story and vision.”

He added: “We believe the contributions we can make to the community’s quality of life have the potential to be priceless and that we will be profitable to the community in ways that cannot be accomplished by another gas station or convenience store.”

Ultimately, it’s an issue “for them to decide and we will respect their decision,” Bruce said. “We too, want what is best for the community.”

Flowery Branch City Council

What: Proposed rezoning for new church building

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, June 27

Where: City Hall, 5410 W. Pine St.