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Cumming just made it easier to become part of the city
CITY hall

The Cumming City Council had a lot to do this week.

At a recent meeting, the council discussed or approved several new changes to the city including getting rid of annexation fees, a new land-use category and changes to utilities.

Annexation fees

Landowners wanting to become part of the city of Cumming will now have a cheaper path to do so.

At a regular meeting on Tuesday, members of the Cumming City Council voted to remove annexation and zoning fees for properties wanting to become part of the city.

“A lot of people have come to me wanting to annex into the city of Cumming, and SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) negotiations … revolve around the number of residents in the city,” said Mayor Troy Brumbalow. “I think we ought to make it easier for people [to choose.]”

Annexations must be approved by the council.

The city of Cumming recently annexed more than 110 acres on Ronald Reagan Boulevard and Atlanta Highway.

Fees for annexation requests were previously a minimum of $750 for commercial and industrial zonings. For residential zonings, the fees were a $750 minimum for multiple-family zonings and a minimum of $400 for single- and two-family zonings.

Mixed-use zoning

Brumbalow and councilmembers also held a public hearing for new rules for a mixed-use zoning category. The new category was approved as part of an update to the city’s comprehensive plan in 2017.

“We’ve [added] a mixed-use category into the plan,” said Jerry Weitz, whose firm worked with city officials on the update. “The zoning ordinance does not implement that item right now.”

There were no speakers in the public hearing.

Compared to most zoning categories, Weitz said developers of the mixed-use sites would not have standardized zoning rules for all. Weitz said going for the zonings would not be “an easy thing for an applicant to go through” due to the needed design and consulting fees.

“It’s really a very generalized, very open-ended development zoning process where an applicant can propose really whatever they want within the confines of what we’re giving,” he said. “They can write their own zoning ordinance so to speak.”

That brought up the issue of developers going for potentially unpopular zonings, though the council would have the final say and could vote them down.

Some members of the council praised the flexibility of the plan.

The potential zoning category will be discussed at a future meeting.

Utilities

The council also approved new equipment, bids and fees for the city’s utilities department.

The council unanimously approved increasing water meter and water system renewal and extension fees to be more in line with Forsyth County and surrounding areas.

Cumming Utilities Director Jon Heard said the fees are paid for by developers.

The increases will be from $1,200 to $1,600 for 3/4-inch pipes; $1,700 to $3,300 for 1-inch pipes; $5,700 to $10,000 for 2-inch pipes; $11,000 to $19,000 for 3-inch pipes; $16,000 to $29,000 for 4-inch pipes; $33,000 to $68,000 for 6-inch pipes; and $50,000 to $101,000 for 8-inch pipes.

The fees are the same as Forsyth County.

Council members also approved the purchase of a tractor and bush hog from Ag-Pro for $59,999 and a mulching head from Mason Tractor Co., for $22,600.