After some disagreements between Forsyth County and the city of Cumming, a new project from Forsyth County Schools will officially be in the city.
During a Cumming City Council Work meeting on Tuesday, councilmembers unanimously approved the annexations of about 12 acres on Dahlonega Highway behind the Forsyth County Board of Education building for a new project that will include a 1,800-seat performing arts center and three-story Academy for Creative Education.
The entire development will be about 30 acres, though the rest was already located within the city limits.
“One of the buildings overlaps into what is currently county area,” said Tim Amerson, director of facilities planning with the school system.
Typically, when property is annexed from the county into the city, Forsyth County Commissioners wither approve the request or object to it, which can lead to an arbitration process. For their decision, commissioners chose to neither object nor approve, which Cumming Planning and Zoning Director Scott Morgan said he had never seen before.
When commissioners discussed the project, one sticking point was they felt school officials were told that the entire project needed to be in either the city or county, which commissioners disagreed with.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Troy Brumbalow clarified the city’s point of view before the approval.
“When the school came to us wanting us to approve this, we had no jurisdictional authority to inspect a building not in our corporate limits. It would be like us inspecting [the planned East Forsyth High School in an unincorporated portion of the county], we just can’t do it,” Brumbalow said. “That’s why they’re requesting the annexation.”
During the meeting, councilmembers also approved a “cleanup” annexation of 1.7 acres on Pilgrim Mill Road as part of a land swap between the board of education and a neighboring property owner. City officials said the annexation was needed as it would have created an island of unincorporated land in the project and gives the school access to Pilgrim Road.