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How admission, parking prices will change for Cumming Fair
Cumming Fair

This year’s edition of the Cumming County Fair & Festival will feature a change in admission and parking prices.

On Tuesday evening, the Cumming City Council voted to remove the $5 fee at the Cumming Fairgrounds parking lot and to increase the admission price from $7 to $10. The change had previously been discussed at a work session two weeks earlier.

“We got some comments back, some good, some bad,” said Councilman Christopher Light. “Logistically, it makes all the sense in the world. Doing research on surrounding fairs to the north, south, east and west of us, we’re still going to be one of the lowest-priced fairs.”

Fairgrounds Administrator Tracy Helms said the previous pricing structure – $7 admission for adults and $3 for students 18 and under – had been in place since 2008. Before then, the adult price was $5.

In 2016, the city council approved changing prices by eliminating the $3 ticket for students and making the adult ticket needed for guests 11 and over. Parking also increased from $3 to $5 that year.

Mayor Troy Brumbalow said the flux in prices meant the fair would likely be more expensive for some quests while others may save money.

“I think it’s all a matter of perspective,” Brumbalow said. “If you go as a single parent with kids, you’re saving money. If you’re two parents with two kids, it costs you $1 more. If you go on a free day, you save $5. If you’re going as a single parent or an adult [with a child], you’re saving $2. It’s all a matter of perspective of, ‘Is it costing more or less?’”

At the work session, Helms said the change would net $50,000-$100,000. Other benefits would include not having city employees walking around the area with large amounts of cash, lines moving quicker due to not having to give back change and a 15-20% reduction in employee pay costs from parking attendants.

This year’s fair will be held Thursday, Oct. 8 to Sunday, Oct. 18.

Public hearing for Westshore

Issues surrounding the proposed Westshore development go back to 2018, but the mixed-use facility cleared a major hurdle on Tuesday.

At the meeting, council members held a public hearing for annexation and rezoning of the property before voting to postpone a decision on the proposed development at the intersection of Market Place Boulevard and Turner Road. Mayor Troy Brumbalow said the developer had asked to postpone the decision and some conditions still needed to be worked out.

Scott Morgan, the city’s director of planning and zoning, said the 151-acre property was planned to be rezoned to a planned unit development (PUD) for about 58 acres to the west of Market Place with a conditional-use permit for alcohol sales and 93 acres to highway business district (HB) east of the roadway.

“It’s centered around a town green open space and there are residential units above retail in the town green district,” said Sean Courtney, a zoning attorney representing the developer, Atlantic Realty Partners, during the public hearing. “There are two out parcels that will either be restaurants or retail.”

The entire proposed development is planned for the 58-acre parcel, and there are no current plans for the HB portion.

Courtney said the development would include single-family homes, townhomes, residential units above retail, “club-level” residential units and assisted-living units, which were part of an agreement with Forsyth County.

The commercial portion will include office buildings, a medical office building, out parcels and a hotel.

Previous plans have said the development will have 322,000 square feet of commercial space, 348 rental units, 20 single-family units and 130 townhomes.

The development has been a source of friction between Forsyth County and the city in recent years.

In November, county commissioners voted to object to the annexation request because the city’s PUD zoning allows more density – 10 units per acre instead of six – than the county’s master-planned district (MPD) zoning, the HB zoning does not match the county’s zoning for the area and concerns with issues of collecting impact fees – fees paid by developers to the county to offset the use of certain county amenities and services— and infrastructure.

Before a decision was made by an arbitration panel, the county and developer came to an agreement that 120 units of senior living units planned for the development be used for assisted living and Atlantic pay the county $200,000 “to offset our impact fees loss.”

Impact fees have been a big point of contention for county leaders in recent annexations.

The first annexation request regarding Westshore came to commissioners in 2018, and that request was ultimately withdrawn amid several issues, including that certain lots of the proposal had only requested the portion west of Market Place to be annexed, meaning the original request was only for 57 acres instead of the entire 151.