Cherokee County Commissioners have approved filing a lawsuit against the city of Woodstock to halt a controversial annexation and development plan.
State Rep. John Carson, a Republican who represents the area of the annexation has also threatened to take action via legislation to reverse the city’s approval on May 13 of a request from Inline Communities for annexation, rezoning and variances for about 148 acres, including a planned conservation subdivision of 242 homes on 132.8 acres. The subdivision land abuts the Millstone Manor neighborhood and is next to Arnold Mill Elementary School.
The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners last week gave approval to move forward with a lawsuit against the city on the issue, while also affirming support for the proposed actions of Carson.
“This is a troublesome annexation,” Commissioner Ray Gunnin said. “There are a lot of things you have to look at.”
County attorney Angela Davis said the suit has not been filed yet, as the county has requested records from the city in order to have all necessary information before taking action, records that have not been received yet. Davis said the suit will argue the annexation is in violation of Georgia law, leading to the goal of stopping the annexation. However, Davis said the city is scheduled to take a second vote on the matter during its June 10 city council meeting, and any action the county decides to take, including the suit being filed, would depend on what takes place at the council meeting.
Carson was present at the most recent county commission meeting and spoke for several minutes on the annexation.
“I took the action I did after expedited but careful thought,” Carson said. “I don’t take these matters lightly.”
Carson commended the board of commissioners for approving the motion to move forward in filing suit against the city, while also mentioning how he has heard from a number of his constituents voicing their concerns on the matter.
“I want there to be a dialogue opened between city and county officials,” Carson said, adding he felt local citizens should also be included in the conversation.
After Carson spoke, commissioners approved one a motion affirming the board’s support for Carson’s action at the legislative level.
County officials first raised objections to the annexation when they reviewed it in January. Though Woodstock staff recommended approving the project with conditions, the city planning commission unanimously recommended denying it.
Among the 14 conditions that were approved with the application were: the applicant will donate at least 2.5 acres of the largest tract to the city for a fire station site, they will donate the nine-acre tract to the city for a Greenprints Trail connection, and they will make road improvements to the area, including straightening Hendon Road and installing center left turn lanes and accelerating/decelerating lanes at Arnold Mill Road.
Public comments have been almost entirely in opposition to the annexation, largely from county residents who live near the property. Neighbors voiced concerns about the subdivision’s density, which is estimated to be 1.8 units per acre. They argued that the new homes would put extra strain on traffic and overpopulate local schools.