CANTON – A proposal for the annexation of about 146 acres along Arnold Mill Road has ruffled the feathers of nearby residents, many of whom spoke out last week against the conservation subdivision planned for the property.
The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners discussed at its Jan. 15 meeting the annexation application, which proposes 255 homes on 145.98 acres between Air Acres Airport and the Millstone Manor subdivision and adjacent Arnold Mill Elementary School.
During public comment at last week’s commission meeting, six residents spoke in opposition to the proposal submitted by Inline Communities, citing concerns mostly about the density of the project and usability of the land. A portion of the property falls within flood plain and along Little River.
Speakers questioned the applicants’ reasoning for annexation, saying that going through the city is an effort to avoid more strict county land use regulations on the property. They also expressed concerns with the expected generation of traffic and possible stresses on the school system.
Application documents show the proposal would generate an estimated 2,240 vehicle trips daily and would add another 185 students to local schools.
During the commission’s discussion, Chairman Harry Johnston made it clear that the county could not prevent annexation if legally and sensibly carried out. However, he said the county did have some legal concerns and other objections to the case.
“The application, in its text and in the maps that have been submitted to us, are inconsistent. The text of the applications suggest that certain properties are being annexed. The maps show different properties being annexed,” County Attorney Angela Davis said at the meeting. “When we were asking for additional supplemental materials to confirm the properties, they submitted additional deeds that weren’t reflected either in the text or in the map.”
Davis also said that, due to topographical and flood plain challenges on portions of the property, there is a legal argument that certain pieces of the land to be annexed are not “buildable” under the city’s regulations – a requirement for legal annexation.
County planning staff also cited various incompletions or inconsistencies in engineering plans, traffic studies and other documentation, leading to their expression of safety and other concerns with the annexation moving forward.
Commissioners voted unanimously to draft, edit and send a list of planning staff objections and legal concerns to the city of Woodstock, explaining the county’s request for the annexation to be denied.
Woodstock officials declined to comment on the annexation last week, but Community Development Director Brantley Day said when they receive information from the county, they will “review their comments in concert with the city’s evaluation of the proposed project.”
The Woodstock Planning Commission is expected to hear the case at 7 p.m. on Feb. 7 at the Chambers at City Center in downtown Woodstock, 8534 Main St. The Woodstock City Council is expected to hear the case at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28 in the same location. Agendas, minutes and videos of Woodstock meetings can be found at woodstockga.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx.
In other business, the commission approved two zoning cases previously recommended for approval by the Cherokee County Planning Commission.
An application for the rezoning of 1.94 at the intersection of East Cherokee Drive and Cumming Highway in Macedonia received unanimous approval from commissioners. The approval rezones the property from agricultural and low-density residential uses to general commercial for a RaceTrac gas station. The gas station will replace Macedonia Baptist Church, which has been working to relocate ahead of the widening of Cumming Highway.
An application for the rezoning of 14.88 acres on Marietta Highway from residential and commercial uses to residential townhome was also unanimously approved. Developer Pacific Group has proposed up to 101 townhomes on the property, and worked with surrounding property owners to incorporate needed area improvements into the development. Planning commissioners applauded developers for their work with the community at the case’s hearing last month.
The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at the Northside Hospital Cherokee Conference Center at 1130 Bluffs Parkway in Canton. Agendas, minutes and videos, including a live stream of meetings, can be found at legacy.cherokeega.com/apps/transparency/novusSearch.cfm.