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County approves agreement for city development

A new development in land recently annexed by the city of Cumming may be moving ahead sooner rather than later. 

At a special called meeting on Tuesday, Forsyth County commissioners voted 3-1, with District 5 Commissioner Laura Semanson opposed and District 1 Commissioner Pete Amos absent, to approve a memorandum of understanding between the city and county to allow developers to move ahead with plans for a development on 100 acres on Ronald Reagan Boulevard near Northside Hospital Forsyth.

The property was annexed into the city earlier this year, but the zoning request came back to the commissioners since the developer is requesting a denser zoning from the city than was requested in the annexation and the annexation happened less than a year ago.

The development will include apartments, a hotel, open space and office space on 22 acres out of more than 100 acres annexed by the city.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the approval would waive “the county’s right to object to a potential rezoning of property that was annexed into the city” and the county was able to insist on certain conditions for the zoning.

Semanson, who opposed the approval, said she did not want to set a precedent of allowing developers to move property to the city to obtain a more intense zoning than they would have received from the county.

“This property was annexed for the sole purpose of what they are asking us not to exercise right now, which is one of the very limited ways we can ever protect the country’s interests with respect to annexation,” she said during the meeting. 

Had commissioners denied approving the memorandum, some work could not have begun until May 1, the anniversary of the annexation being approved by the Cumming City Council.

The development will still need to be approved for rezoning by the council.