FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — County commissioners will continue discussion this week on one of the latest bids by the City of Cumming to annex property on its eastern border.

Commissioners voted Aug. 15 to move the item to a work session scheduled for early this week.

The 13.5-acre tract is only part of a recent effort by the city to incorporate property from the county.

Earlier this year, Cumming succeeded in annexing 46 acres of land to accommodate its plans for a multimillion-dollar City Center. 

More recently, Cumming’s proposals to expand its borders have drawn more opposition from the county. 

At a work session held earlier this month, county commissioners voted thumbs down on the city’s effort to annex 151 acres of property, also on the eastern edge of town.

That request for annexation, filed with the city July 8, originated from One Alliance Center of Atlanta.

The site includes plans for a mixed-use development to the west of Market Place, with retail, office and residential elements. The proposal would increase the density by nearly half what is currently allowed under the county’s comprehensive land use plan.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the city’s desire to allow mixed-use would be appropriate within the area, but the proposed development does not fit the county’s master plan development requirements.

The county now allows a maximum of 6 units per acre in mixed-use. The city’s paperwork suggests allowing 8.9 units per acre on those parcels west of Market Place.

“It is a fairly significant density swing to bring this into city limits, should that occur,” Jarrard said at the Aug. 5 work session.

Jarrard said highway business district zoning is not a suitable use for the area either, based on the county’s land use plan.

State law does provide the county with the right to oppose an annexation based on several factors, including a proposed change in zoning or land use, proposed increase in density, and infrastructure demands related to the zoning change.

A valid objection would have to show a substantial change in the intensity of the allowable use due to the zoning change, Jarrard said.

Commission Chairwoman Laura Semanson pointed out that she would like to see the school district involve itself in the issue.

“It should be a real concern of our citizens here that the impact that [this development is] going to have on the district’s schools, especially considering all of the other high-density housing units that are being proposed within the city limits and that area,” Semanson said. “We’re going to hit critical mass.” 

Her remarks prompted Commissioner Molly Cooper to add that the higher density will create greater draws on county services, like libraries and fire protection, yet the county will not collect a penny in impact fees from the developments.

“So it’s increasing demand, but it’s decreasing the funding for the demand,” she said.

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