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Cumming residents object to plans for housing development

Neighbors say rezoning has been kept a secret

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David Hole

Southern General Development Corp. representative David Hole speaks to Cumming City Council members Nov. 16 on a proposed residential development on Pilgrim Mill Road.

CUMMING, Ga. — Opponents of a proposed 176-unit housing development on Pilgrim Mill Road turned out Nov. 16 to tell Cumming City Council members they’d been kept in the dark.

“We were never told about the annexation,” Rich Willits of Emerald Springs subdivision said. “This will absolutely adversely affect the property values in the area if this goes through.”

Willits said the signs placed to announce the rezoning hearing were not visible to him or his neighbors in the subdivision and placed “inconspicuously” on purpose.

Forsyth County explores avenues to alert residents of annexations

In its letter of intent to the city, the developer, Southern General Development Corporation, said the 78-acre parcel had recently been annexed into the city and designated for low-density residential. Original plans called for constructing 205 residential units, varying from single-family detached to townhomes, on the property. The townhomes were later removed from the mix, dropping the number of units to 176 and lowering the density to 2.25 units per acre.

The application also includes open space areas designated for the development and amenities, such as a pool.

City Councilman Christopher Light said after listening to resident comments at the public hearing, the city’s process for rezoning needs to be adjusted to give residents better opportunities to respond. Council members will be looking for different ways in the future to make residents more aware on different rezoning projects.

Light said any information about their rezoning projects and other public hearing items should be clearly stated.

“My goal is to make sure that questions get answered before they come to us [during the public hearing],” Light said.

Cumming Mayor Troy Brumbalow said as he oversaw the council come to a decision, it is important to note that they are looking for better methods to advertise rezoning items in the future.

“I really appreciate all of the public participation,” Brumbalow said. “We can and will do better to get more community involvement on any rezonings.”

Councilwoman Linda Ledbetter made a motion to deny the rezoning application, but that measure failed due to lack of a second.

Instead, the council voted to postpone any action on the matter until the Dec. 7 work session.

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