Improvement district to fund new Ga. 400 exit

Taubman Mall project still in play



CUMMING, Ga. — A proposed new exit on Ga. 400 at McGinnis Ferry Road is more certain now with legislation introduced to create a Community Improvement District.

The possibility of an interchange also gives new life to the Taubman Mall project, which was supposed to start in 2011 and has since stalled.

The project is a 150-acre mixed-use development first approved by Forsyth County in 2008 on Union Hill and McGinnis Ferry.

A Georgia Tech Fiscal Impact Analysis found that Taubman along with an interchange could bring $1 billion dollars in economic development, about 8,000 jobs and $38 million in sales and property taxes to Forsyth County.

A CID would generate about $10 million dollars a year in local money from area businesses and ensure that a Ga. 400 interchange is built. It would also give a boost to the Taubman development.

“Taubman has hung on to that property because they are committed to it,” State Sen. Mark Hamilton said. “They know this is a great project. They are going to open eventually. This right here gives them a date certain.”

Forsyth County’s legislators backing the district also include Sens. Jack Murphy and Steve Gooch and Reps. Hamilton and Mike Dudgeon, who are all Republicans. The legislators said they approached this CID differently by narrowly restricting the coverage area and setting a 10-year expiration date.

Rep. Dudgeon, who represents the area along McGinnis Ferry Road in south Forsyth and Johns Creek, said the only area covered by this CID are from McGinnis on the south, west to Strickland Road, north to McFarland Parkway and east to Shiloh Road.

The specific district and boundaries are decided by the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners.

After the CID is approved by state and local officials, a seven-member board of directors would be created by property owners and equity holders. The CID would be an additional tax not to exceed 5 mills on non-residential property owners within its borders.

“The only people who will pay this millage rate are commercially zoned business properties. If you are residential or agricultural, you do not pay the millage rate,” Dudgeon said. “The intent of the CID is specific on transportation.”

In addition, Dudgeon said the North Fulton CID will assist in the success of the new CID and have already invested $300,000.

Claudia Castro, a managing director of Smart Growth Forsyth County, a resident driven group, said the plan does not go far enough into addressing existing traffic problems.

Castro said widening McGinnis Ferry Road should be done before putting an exit off Ga. 400.

The only business represented at the public input meeting, Matthew Broms, owner of Renewed Vision/Software Development, said he’s in favor of a CID as long as he’s not unfairly taxed.

John Cunard, the engineering department director, said conceptual designs on the interchange project are underway and could be completed by spring or summer. After that, it could state transportation up to 5 years to be built the new exit.

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