The chamber was buzzing in the lead up to the June 20 Board of Commission meeting. Several attendees showed up with snacks and were busy joking about being in for another three-hour meeting, referencing the two previous Etowah Village votes, which both went well into the night.
But the discussion on the rezoning lasted only 15 minutes before a 4-0 vote tabled the proposal until the July 18 voting session.
The rezoning proposal included a major change to the project — all of the development on the west side of the Etowah River had been removed, as had the entrance on Hwy 53. These two items were where a lot of the contention over the project originated.
Due to the scope of these changes, the commissioners will be holding another public hearing to hear concerns from the citizens during the meeting. Because the law requires all public hearings be advertised for at least 15 days, the zoning couldn’t be scheduled for the next BoC meeting, scheduled for July 2.
For the remainder of the project, zoning isn’t actually a huge issue. The vast majority of the development on the east side of the river already aligns with current zoning and could be developed without the approval of the Board of Commissioners.
The requested rezoning — bring the entire site under the umbrella of ‘mixed use’ — is more about convenience for the developers and project oversight for the commissioners.
With a mixed use zoning, the developers get a little more flexibility in where things are placed in the planned community, as well as a little more density.
The commissioners will get an opportunity to have more say in approving the project.
Citizens who want more information on the project are invited to the voting session of the Board of Commissioners, July 18 at 6:00 p.m.