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Kelly Mill neighborhood, Greek Orthodox Church expansion headed to BOC
Greek Orthodox Church
Proposed plans for the new facility will include a haven for homeless families through the Family Promise program, a commercial kitchen for events and increased capacity for seating at all services and functions.

Plans for two event spaces, a church expansion and a neighborhood on both sides of Kelly Mill Road cleared the Forsyth County Planning Commission this week.

At a meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 25, the following items were approved and discussed by members of the planning board following public hearings. The items will next go to the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners for a future meeting.

Here’s a look at what was discussed:

New neighborhood on Kelly Mill

What is the plan: Applicant Kelly Mill Consultants Corporation has requested to build a new neighborhood with homes on both sides of Kelly Mill Road.

Where: 2089, 2049, 2050 and 2106 Kelly Mill Road.

What is being requested: The rezoning of agricultural district (A1) and single-family residential restricted district (R2R) to single-family residential district (Res-3) on 61.02 acres for 87 residential lots with a density of 1.43 units per acre.

Vote: Approved 4-1, with District 4 planning member Nedal Shawkat opposed.

Discussion and other info: The land had previously been discussed for a different proposal for a neighborhood and Hindu temple, which also has had an application filed with the understanding it will be pulled if the neighborhood project is approved.

During Tuesday’s meeting, one of the sticking points was over a lot on the northeast corner of the land that is largely separated from the remaining property by a pond and would be accessed from an existing neighborhood on Warm Breeze Lane to the east of the property.

While neighbors did not seem to be in favor of any homes connecting with the existing subdivision, they favored only having one, rather than the two originally planned, since just one would require a driveway rather than a new cul-de-sac. The current proposal would allow that lot to share the same covenants as existing residences.

“This application has come a long way from both the original conditional-use permit and the original zoning, and that is because the neighbors have been so active and so tuned in,” said District 3 planning member Jessica Thorsen.


Church expansion moves ahead

What is the plan: To expand Saints Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene Greek Orthodox Church for applicant Eastern Orthodox Community of Northern Georgia, Inc.

Where: 3074 and 3090 Bethelview Road.

What is being requested: A conditional-use permit to expand and operate a place of worship, fellowship hall, outdoor pavilion, bell tower, office and gymnasium (10,000 square feet or more) and a parochial primary school (10,000 square feet or less) in buildings totaling 64,842 square feet in addition to an existing 4,215 square feet building with 245 total parking spaces on 15.792 acres currently zoned agricultural district (A1).

Vote: Recommend approval 5-0.

Discussion and other info: Planning members and speakers said the church and neighbors had been in communication about the expansion.

Ethan Underwood, a zoning attorney representing the developer, said the expansion would not happen in one phase and, rather was anticipating a 15- to 20-year buildout.


Events facility on Bennett Road

What is the plan: An events facility for applicant Yes 2 Farms, LLC to operate on Bennett Road.

Where: 6370 and 6390 Bennett Road.

What is being requested: To operate a special event facility in buildings totaling 18,267 square feet with 202 parking spaces and short-term rentals in buildings totaling 5,222 square feet for 10 overnight guests with 20 parking spaces on 22.625 acres currently zoned agricultural district (A1).

Vote: Recommend approval 5-0.

Requested variance: Reduce the impervious setback from 75 feet to 50 feet adjacent to the existing structure only.

Discussion and other info: Christopher Light, a zoning attorney representing the developer, said the county code already allows events on the land and the permit would allow the use of an indoor facility.

Light said zoning conditions, such as limiting weekday events, were more restrictive than what is allowed.

Neighbors speaking at the meeting were split in their support or opposition to the project. Concerns for the land were that the area is chiefly residences and agricultural uses and over traffic on Bennett Road.

The project was also compared to a recent request to expand nearby Fill Ministries.

Shawkat said he was more supportive of this request since less intense and on a larger property.


Events venue on Burruss Mill Road

What is the plan: A venue for weddings and other events on Burruss Mill Road.

Where: 5295 and 5345 Picklesimer Road and 6220 Burruss Mill Road, Cumming, GA 30041.

What is being requested: Request to operate a special event facility in buildings totaling 5,093 square feet with 30 parking spaces on 5.18 acres currently zoned agricultural district (A1).

Requested variances: Reduce the side buffer adjacent to the southern boundary of tax map/parcel 268-035 from 25 feet to 10 feet; reduce the side buffer adjacent to the western boundary of tax map/parcel 268-035 from 25 feet to zero feet.

Vote: Recommend approval 5-0.

Discussion and other info: Some neighbors who spoke in opposition raised issues of traffic, noise and potential drunk drivers leaving the property.

Developers said the proposed conditions would limit noise as they put restrictions on when fireworks can be shot and noise volumes tougher than the county’s code.

Two Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office deputies, who have previously worked events at the facility and were speaking as individuals rather than on behalf of the FCSO, said they had not dealt with noise or drunk driving issues.