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3 things from this week’s Cumming City Council meeting
steam engine
The Cumming Steam, Antique Tractor & Gas Engine Expo was held at the Cumming Fairgrounds this weekend, Nov. 13-14. - photo by For the FCN

Times and dates to qualify for this year’s city election, a zoning decision for 74 acres of property and adding a steam engine display to the planned Cumming City Center were among items discussed this week at a Cumming City Council regular meeting.

All items were approved by a 5-0 vote unless otherwise noted.

Annexed property receives zoning

During the meeting, members of the city council voted to zone about 74 acres along Pilgrim Road near Hwy. 9 that was annexed into the city in September 2019, referred to as the Williams Tract, to single-family residential (R1) district.

Previously, the land was zoned to Forsyth County's agricultural (A1) district, but once annexed, it was rezoned to the city's annexed property (AP) district, which annexed properties go to for up to 18 months from the date of annexation.

Under state law, newly-annexed properties into the city are required to have a similar zoning to the one it had in the county for at least a year.

Cumming Mayor Troy Brumbalow said the city’s R1 district was the “most comparable thing” to the county’s zoning.

There were no speakers in support or opposition during the meeting or a previous public hearing held by the city’s planning commission.

City elections qualifying

Though the 2020 election and runoffs are barely in the rearview, city officials have already set qualifying days and fees for the city’s 2021 election where the seats for Brumbalow and Councilmen Jason Evans and Chad Crane will be on the ballot.

City Administrator Phil Higgins said the fees would be $360 to run for mayor and $180 to run for the council seats and qualifying will begin on 8:30 a.m., Monday, Aug. 16, and end at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

Higgins said the fees are set at 3% of the office’s annual salary.

Steam engine display

Every Fourth of July, the steam engines rumble down the city’s streets in the Thomas-Mashburn Memorial Steam Engine Parade as a nod to the cities past, and now, a permanent display of an engine along with signs promoting that history is being planned for the Cumming City Center.

Members approved up to $40,000 to go toward a steam engine display at the city center in an area that was originally planned for a fountain. Higgins said the display would be more affordable than a fountain, which can range from $80,000 to $200,000.

“The steam engine has been a big part of the heritage of this community, so, possibly, an homage to the steam engine would be appropriate at the city center,” Higgins said.

Brumbalow said the planned fountain near the center’s amphitheater would likely remain and another planned fountain in a pocket park would be removed.

“It’ll be great at Christmastime to decorate it and have a park bench and people can come take their Christmas photos with it,” the mayor said. “[We can] have a sign there that talks about the steam engine parade in Cumming and all that kind of stuff.”

Brumbalow said the engine would not be able to participate in the annual parade due to the logistics of moving it and would “basically be art” and include signs with a history of the area and the tractor itself.

While the display would commemorate the role of steam engines in the city’s history, Brumbalow said the model used in the display would actually start on gas and run on kerosene but would still look like a steam engine and be more affordable.

“The only steam engines I found for sale in the U.S. were either $130,000 or they had converted over to tractor tires, it’s not what you’re used to seeing as a steam engine, and they were still like $15,000,” Brumbalow said.