Auburn annexation and rezoning

The Auburn City Council is considering a request to annex 98.2 acres at the intersection of Carl-Cedar Hill and Bill Robinson roads in order for a subdivision with 315 single-family homes to be built. 

The Auburn City Council is set to vote on another major annexation and rezoning request that would allow for another large residential subdivision to be built — this time on the eastern end of the city — after the request was backed by the city’s planning commission.

During its Thursday, Aug. 19 work session, the council was presented with the request to annex and rezone two parcels totaling 98.2 acres at the intersection of Carl-Cedar Hill and Bill Robinson roads in order for a subdivision with 315 single-family homes to be built. Clayton Properties and Chafin Land Development — which won approval from the council earlier this month to annex and rezone the Fowler Farms property on the western end of Auburn for a large residential and commercial development — are the applicants along with property owners Frank Whiddon and Alex Dobbs.

After delaying the case for two months following an initial public hearing in June, the planning commission on Wednesday, Aug. 18, recommended approval of the requests with more than a dozen attached conditions. The council will now hold its own public hearing and presumably a final vote at its Sept. 2 meeting, and council members appeared to be in favor of the project Thursday.

“We think the property is a great location for the project,” said Shane Lanham, the attorney representing the applicants.

The staff- and planning commission-recommended approval comes with conditions that the recommendations of a preliminary traffic analysis for the planned development be implemented, including the installation of deceleration and left-turn lanes into the development.

While the council’s decision on annexation and rezoning revolves around land use, “we just understand the reality (that) any development is going to bring more traffic,” Lanham said, “(and) we can do things to mitigate those impacts.”

Lanham added that the developer will submit a full, comprehensive traffic analysis to be reviewed prior to the issuance of any development and building permits.

The recommended conditions for approval also stipulate that single-story homes be a minimum of 1,800 heated square feet and two-story homes be a minimum of 2,200 heated square feet; that no vinyl siding be allowed; that there be at least a double-car garage with each house; and that there be a mandatory homeowners’ association with privately-owned and maintained streets.

Jason Hutchins, a neighboring property owner to the proposed development, asked for the council to include an additional condition that a fence be installed along the property line to keep his cows from potentially getting into the development. Jay Miller, the city’s director of planning and community development, said that condition could be included in advance of the Sept. 2 public hearing. Lanham said installing a fence may be a challenge due to streams and buffers but that the developer was committed to working with the neighboring property owners.

One of the recommended conditions, agreed to by the applicants, would require that a disclosure about neighboring agricultural uses — including associated sounds and smells — be included on the final plat for all properties within the subdivision.

“I do want to see (the city and developer have measures in place) to protect farmers,” councilwoman Peggy Langley said. “We are in unchartered territory here (with more planned residential developments bordering agricultural uses). Everybody’s going to have to learn to co-exist.”

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business Thursday, the council:

•heard from city administrator Alex Mitchem that property owners in the 10-home subdivision The Cleft on Hayes Road are interested in annexing into the city from Gwinnett County and have reached out to the city about having meetings to discuss the possibility.

•heard a recommendation to keep the Gwinnett County portion of the city’s millage rate at 4.951 mills, where it has been since 2013. A public hearing and vote is scheduled to be held at the council’s Sept. 2 meeting.

•heard a recommendation to create a new full-time position in the parks and leisure services department that will be in charge of coordinating activities at all of the city’s recreational facilities as well as landscape and park planning work and other responsibilities. The position, which is part of the city’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget, will report to the leisure services director. Mitchem said the additional position is needed as the city’s population and recreational programming outreach continues to grow.

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