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Annexation request withdrawn for 54 acres on Bald Ridge Marina Road
Gateway at Lanier
Commissioners voted to object to the annexation request to develop Gateway Lanier, a mixed-use development on 54 acres of land east of Costco on Bald Ridge Marina Road.

 An annexation request for more than 50 acres on Bald Ridge Marina Road has been removed.

During a Cumming City Council meeting on Monday, a public hearing to discuss a request for the annexation of 54 acres on Bald Ridge Marina Road for a development known as Gateway to Lanier was on the agenda before members voted to remove the item.  

Mayor Troy Brumbalow said the request had been withdrawn by the applicant, and there was no other discussion.

Though this was the first time the request had come to the city, it had already caused some issues for Forsyth County Commissioners when they discussed whether to object to the annexation request.

At a meeting in March, commissioners did not formally object or give no objection to the request and, instead, they approved a resolution saying that the application was “tendered by a non-existent entity” and was inconsistent with state law.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said at the time he was unable to find records of Gateway to Lanier, LLC, the company requesting the annexation,  

“I did, in fact, find an entity that had reserved a name to become that corporation in late 2019, but my review of the secretary of state's records indicated that that name reservation expired on Dec. 25 of 2019,” he said.

The property is made of two tracts: a larger parcel, about 46 acres, zoned commercial business district (CBD) and a smaller parcel zoned lakeside residential (LR). Had the annexation been approved, the land would have been rezoned to annexed property (AP), a city zoning designation that means the property mimics the county zoning for a year.

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.

Since it was introduced last year, county leaders have had issues with the AP zoning, feeling that is intended to sidestep zoning rules, including BOC Chairwoman Laura Semanson saying the category was “deceptive.”

At the March meeting, Jarrard said it was clear the land-use would change because plans showed a commercial use for the residential portion of the property and the larger portion was planned for “a mix of uses.”

“How in the world can we make a determination as to whether it's going to put an infrastructure load on the county, where it's going to be a significant increase in the intensity or density of land use on the property, when we don't have any idea what the intended land-use is?" Jarrard said.

Annexations have been a tense issue for city and county leaders in recent years.

Two of the most recent annexation requests to come to the county were for 11 acres on Buford Highway for a Cadillac dealership and 151 acres on Market Place Boulevard for the proposed Westshore mixed-use development.

Other large recent annexations included about 12 acres on Dahlonega Highway behind the Forsyth County Board of Education building for a new project that will include an 1,800-seat performing arts center and three-story Academy for Creative Education, and about 114 acres on Pilgrim Road, which includes Sawnee View Memorial Garden.