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What should 70 acres off Pilgrim Road be used for? City asking county leaders for input
FCN Forsyth County Administration Building

In recent years, Forsyth County Commissioners have brought up issues with a number of annexations into the city of Cumming, but at a recent meeting, county leaders said the city is asking for their input for land that has already been annexed.

Commissioners discussed the matter at a recent work session but took no action. County Attorney Ken Jarrard said he and District 1 Commissioner Molly Cooper, who represents the area, would reach out to city leaders about what to do with about 70 acres of land on Pilgrim Road that was annexed into the city last year as part of a 114-acre annexation that included Sawnee View Memorial Garden. 

“We're not really giving a response to what their plan is because we don't know what their plan is,” Cooper said. “All we can do is give them some ideas as to what we think, which I'm glad to do, and we have until June 15th to do that.”

While in the county, the land was zoned to the 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.

If the property is not rezoned after 16 months, the land would automatically be zoned R-1, the city's least dense residential district, but the Cumming City Council could vote to extend an AP zoning for two months if a property owner shows “good cause.”

County leaders have repeatedly expressed their displeasure with the AP zoning, including Chairwoman Laura Semanson calling the zonings “deceptive” in a previous discussion, when commissioners were discussing a request to annex 54 acres on Bald Ridge Road. 

“The ask by the city of Cumming with respect to this parcel is that since they have had it for a year, they are about to rezone it to, I suppose, what they really wanted it to go into the city as instead of AP and want to hear our feedback and whether we want to give any feedback on what the property should be used for,” Jarrard said. 

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.

Annexations have been a contentious issue between the two local governments recently. 

Recent annexation requests to come to the county were for 11 acres on Buford Highway for a Cadillac dealership; 151 acres on Market Place Boulevard for the proposed Westshore mixed-use development; and about 12 acres on Dahlonega Highway behind the Forsyth County Board of Education building for a new project that will include a 1,800-seat performing arts center and three-story Academy for Creative Education.