FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga.—Forsyth County Commissioners are facing another annexation request from the City of Cumming, continuing a recent trend by the city to expand its borders. 

The city has issued a request to annex roughly 11 acres on Buford Highway at the current location of an Ingles grocery store and the land behind it. Plans are to allow an auto dealership and additional businesses on the property.

Not included in the annexation request is an adjacent building, including Tam’s Tupelo Restaurant and Socks’ Love Barbecue.

If the annexation goes through, the property would convert from the county’s commercial business district zoning to the city’s highway business designation with a conditional-use permit for an auto dealership.

Plans for the development include building a new Cadillac dealership, converting the existing grocery store to office or warehouse space and building a third building to be used as a restaurant, retail, hotel or office building, County Attorney Ken Jarrard said.

The property would be used by Lake Lanier Cadillac.

County Commission Chairwoman Laura Semanson said she had previously spoken with the developer’s attorney about presenting the project to the county before going to the city, which she said the attorney had agreed to do, but “obviously he did not.”

The county requires a conditional use permit for hotels and car dealerships in areas zoned highway business. Cumming’s zoning codes include a broader range of businesses in areas carrying the same designation.

This is the latest in a string of recent annexation moves by the City of Cumming. Within the past year, the city has sought close to half a dozen individual annexations from the county.

“I feel it was very disingenuous the way this was done,” Semanson said. “It was done to keep supporting a narrative that the county has been difficult to work with, which is absolutely false…I find it distasteful, but there’s not a whole lot we can do about it.”

A decision to approve or oppose the annexation was postponed until the Jan. 23 regular meeting.

In other action at the work session, commissioners discussed environmental-friendly initiatives, including the addition of charging stations at county buildings and adding electric vehicles to the county’s fleet. 

Avery Gravitt, director of fleet services, gave a presentation on the growth of electric vehicles in recent years. 

“There’s a lot of information out there about electric vehicles,” Gravitt said. “It’s new to Forsyth County, new to us in fleet maintenance, but it’s a growing trend, a growing product.”  

The county may look at leasing the vehicles. Leases typically only last a few years and vehicles would still be under warranty. Leasing would also allow the county to test the technology at a cheaper rate with the option to purchase vehicles at the end of the lease, Gravitt said.

Potential sites for charging stations include the fleet maintenance department on County Way, the Mason Street Deck, Central and Fowler parks, the Cumming and Hampton Park branches of the Forsyth County Library.

The charging stations could benefit local businesses as motorists stop at one of the last recharging stations before heading to the North Georgia mountains.

Before proceeding, commissioners said they would need to decide which types of chargers to install and how much to charge users. Fees likely would be based on the time of use, with costs increasing the longer an operator ties up the machine.

New Teslas tell you where to plan your stops so drivers don’t have to do a full charge, District 2 Commissioner Dennis Brown said.

Commissioners will review the issue again in February.

Denise Ray is a Reporter with Appen Media Group and covers Forsyth county.

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