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BOC objects to annexation, higher density subdivision planned on Perimeter Road
County commission

Originally updated Oct. 22, 2018, 3:32 p.m.

In a 3-1 vote Oct. 18, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners decided to send a letter of objection to the city of Dawsonville in regards to a pending annexation and rezoning request for two parcels of land on Perimeter Road at the corner of Allen Street where a subdivision has been proposed.

Applicants Michael Turner and Myles Montgomery are petitioning to annex into the city limits 11.407 acres and rezone to R-3, or single family residential with a density of three units per acre, as well as rezone another 2.768 acres already in the city from light industrial to R-3.

The applicants also asked for a variance of 3.74 units per acre as opposed to the standard three. The variance was approved by the planning commission Oct. 8, contingent upon the city council approving the annexation and rezoning.

If passed by city council the annex and rezone would allow a 53-home subdivision on a combined 14.175 acres.

The acreage that is currently in the county is zoned RSR, or residential sub-rural, which allows only one principal residence per parcel of land.

County Attorney Lynn Frey said at the BOC meeting that high density development and the possibility that the city will be creating an unincorporated island at the corner of Allen Street and Perimeter Road were grounds for the county to object should the board decide to. 

Frey said that if the county objected and the city and county could not reach an agreement, the two parties could go into arbitration, which should move faster than normal litigation.

“The city has the right to annex this...if we object, then we're just basically (heading) toward attorney fees and time wasted for objecting to this,” District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby said.

Hamby asked if anyone knew of an objection to an annexation where the county had won, and no one said they had.
District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines, who used to sit on the city council, said that the county had often fought annexations but it hadn’t done any good.

District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett said she wanted to object.

“What in the world is going to happen with that many houses jammed right there, and the schools...Robinson Elementary, you got the high school, I cannot imagine how you could even get to school,” she said. “I think a higher density is really going to cause a problem.”

Chairman Billy Thurmond said that arbitration would be between the county attorney, city attorney and an arbitrator, and would not cost the county any additional money.

District 4 Commissioner Julie Hughes Nix made a motion to send a letter of objection, which was approved 3-1 with Hamby voting against the motion.

The city council held a public hearing on the annexation and rezoning request Monday night, and Planning Director Robbie Irvin said that he had received the county’s letter of objection and was working to resolve the issue.

Along with approving the variance, the city planning commission also voted unanimously to recommend the council approve the annexation and zoning with conditions: that the developer reach an agreement with the city for a joint detention facility and improvements to be made by the developer to the proposed city dog park; that the city require two entrances to the subdivision with one on Allen Street and one on Perimeter Road; and that the developer provide inter-parcel pedestrian access to the city property.

In order for the council to be able to approve the annexation and rezoning after the second hearing on Nov. 5, a legal agreement between the city and Turner and Montgomery in regards to the construction of the detention facility and design of the future dog park will need to be finalized.

Montgomery said at the council meeting Oct. 22 that he believes the density is suitable for the area and that he and Turner are not asking for something far-fetched.

“It will complete those vacant tracts that are there and then everything in that quadrant will be developed, and the 3.74 units per acre that we’re requesting is actually less than what you find in the Stonewall subdivision, which is adjacent to our development,” Montgomery said.

Victoria Goodyear, who lives in Pigeon Creek Estates, said she did not support the annexation and density of the planned development.

“I don’t think it's needed, I think sometimes when you give them an inch sometimes they take a mile,” Goodyear said. “And when you look back five to 10 years down the road you’re like ‘whoa, what happened? This has gotten a little out of control.’”

At the city council meeting, council member Mark French stated he would like the city to consider imposing a moratorium on annexation and rezoning until an impact study can be completed and considered by the council.

The request will be back before the council at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 for a final vote.