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‘Cumming Welcomes You’: City council discusses new welcome message, other items at work session.
Cumming Welcomes You- Water Tower
Above is one of the proposals for a welcome message on a new city of Cumming water tank near Ga. 400. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

A new welcome message, denial of a conditional-use permit for an auto dealership, changes to local zonings rules and art for a new city of Cumming water tank were among issues tackled this week at a Cumming City Council work session.

All votes at the meeting were 5-0 unless otherwise noted.

Cumming Welcomes You

Last year, the city approved a new water tank near the Xpress park and ride at Old Atlanta Road, which will be visible from Ga. 400.

City leaders decided the size of the tank would be a great place for a welcome message to visitors, and now they are deciding just what they want to say.

While not the final proposals, the options shown at the meeting all featured the name of the city in black using the Cumming Utilities “CU” logo for the first two letters with the phrase “Welcomes You” underneath in different colors and fonts.

“We went through some thought process on what it said up there,” said Jon Heard, director of Cumming Utilities. “It’s going to be kind of hard to see a bunch of words, but we thought about ‘Cumming Home,’ and we thought ‘Cumming Welcome Home.’ We thought about ‘Welcoming to Cumming,’ but ‘Welcoming to Cumming’ sounded cold. It seemed like ‘Cumming Welcomes You’ seemed like all of us were welcoming whoever was coming up 400.”

Councilwoman Linda Ledbetter said she liked the “Cumming Home” proposal.

Andy Lovejoy, president of Civil Engineering Consultants, also showed a video of work being completed at the project during the meeting.

“It’s going to be a strong source of water for the south side of the city’s water and sewer area, more importantly, a direct feed to the hospital in times of emergency,” Lovejoy said.

City Center updates

The proposed Cumming City Center came up in two agenda items during the meeting on Tuesday.

The first was the approval to annex about 46 acres of land between Canton Highway and Tribble Gap Road for the city center.

While most annexations require the approval of all residents living in the area, this annexation was considered under what is known as the 60 percent method, which requires that both 60 percent of voters and 60 percent of landowners are in favor of the annexation.

It appeared city officials had some difficulty due to issues with high turnover in the area and some language issues at previous meetings.

“A couple of different voters who left the jurisdiction gave us writing saying they left the jurisdiction,” said City Attorney Kevin Tallant.

The portion of the property being annexed for the city center is being considered for townhomes by an individual developer.

There are existing residences which will not be impacted. The land was annexed to avoid creation of an island of county property.

Forsyth County Commissioners previously said they had no objections to the annexation.

The city council also approved up to $100,000 for various surveying for the project. City Administrator Phil Higgins referred to the figure as the “high ceiling” of the costs and wanted to request it now rather than coming back at a later meeting.

Higgins said some of the surveying needed for the project will include geotechnical, boundary and topography surveys.

CUP update

Certain businesses in the city will soon require a special permit.

After a public hearing, the council approved changes to the city’s zoning ordinance that requires auto brokers and title pawn businesses to obtain a conditional-use permit.

“Essentially, this just expands the definition of auto sales and services establishments to include automobile financing, such as auto brokers and title pawn establishments,” said Molly Anderson, an attorney with Miles, Hansford and Tallant.

There were no speakers at the public hearing.

CUP denied

A proposed auto sales business will not move ahead after the city council voted to deny an application for a conditional-use permit for Nine Motors, Inc. A public hearing was held at a previous meeting, but a decision was postponed to look at parking issues with the proposal.

“Upon further review, this plan does not reflect the actual property available for parking as an incorrect plat survey was utilized to develop the plan,” said Scott Morgan, the city’s director of planning and zoning.

Morgan said staff had recommended denial of the application.

The proposal was reportedly on the property used for a billboard.

The land is in the area of Shannon Eye Clinic.

Note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the portion of the property being annexed for the city center is being considered for townhomes by an individual developer and not apartments.