During the most recent meeting of the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners, the board reviewed and took action on an annexation case from the city of Woodstock.
Cherokee County Principal Planner Margaret Stallings informed the board that Woodstock submitted an annexation notice to the county regarding 11.59 acres along Arnold Mill Road at the intersection with Dobbs Road. This property is located close to downtown Woodstock and is currently zoned as a mixture of light industrial and residential requiring lots of 40,000 square feet. As part of the annexation plan, Stallings said Woodstock is proposing to annex only part of the property, while leaving a small strip with the county to avoid the creation of an island of unincorporated Cherokee County surrounded by the city of Woodstock.
One issue County Attorney Angie Davis noted was that the city was looking to split the parcel under consideration, while it currently is a single parcel within the county. However, Davis said that this split helped in keeping an unincorporated island from being formed.
Wanting to be sure he understood correctly, Commission Chair Harry Johnston asked Stallings and Davis if there was any legal issue the county had with Woodstock not annexing the property in its entirety. Davis responded that the county could respond by noting that the county did not completely agree with the concept of partial annexations, but given the circumstances in play for this particular piece of land, the county would not necessarily be opposed to it nor would it be grounds for a lawsuit against the city to block the annexation.
Along with the matter of the portions not being annexed to avoid any unincorporated islands, Stallings also pointed out a potential issue that could arise from setbacks along the road. Typically, the county would require a 75-foot setback to preserve future right-of-way, but that a building being proposed to be built in that location appears to be much closer than that, according to submitted plans. Johnston asked if there was anything the county could propose as a middle ground between the county’s traditional 75 feet of setback and the estimated 20 feet this building would have.
“I would suggest 40 to 50 (feet). Something in that range,” Stalling said, which Johnston was in agreement with.
With all this in mind, Johnston suggested the county move forward on the matter by not voicing opposition to the annexation proposal, but ensuring the city of Woodstock understood the county’s concerns about the full property not being annexed (though acknowledging it was necessary in this specific situation) and asking for the building setback to be 50 feet. He then made a motion to submit this information to the city, which was seconded by Commissioner Steve West and unanimously approved by the board.