Confusion over an April 19 rezoning vote in Hoschton let to some pushback by members of the public at a meeting last week.

During a called meeting on April 27, the council added to its agenda a second vote on the conditions of an R-3 zoning for a small 20-acre subdivision on Peachtree Rd.

Nearby residents to the project had expected several conditions recommended by the town's planning commission to be included in the council's final vote on April 19. But those conditions were not in the final vote, something the neighbors only discovered after the rezoning had been approved.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that the town's planning commission was abolished by the city council after it made its recommendations in March.

The main issue was a recommendation that the number of lots in the development be reduced from 55 to 49 to avoid an existing requirement that mandates two entrances to any subdivision of 50 lots or more.

Other conditions recommended by the planning board included a 30-foot rear setback and a 25-foot natural stormwater buffer for property abutting an R1 zoning district. The R1 property abudding the development is owned by many of those who voiced their concerns to the planning commission March 22.

Nearby residents thought all those conditions had been approved by the city council, but discovered that they were not included in the final council vote.

“That was not what was voted on and passed by the council and we can produce email communications from council members attesting to that fact,” said nearby resident Keith Sallsman to the council following the vote. “We expect you to adopt the conditions approved and duly voted by council on April 19th.” 

Sallsman and others were allowed to speak only after the council revoted on April 27 to uphold the 55 lots and smaller setbacks.

Mayor Shannon Sell said there were errors in the email communications between the public and council members. The communication lapse, according to Sell, is why he was told by the city’s attorney to “re-clarify” the vote that was taken April 19.

Sell said he and the planning staff plan to change the city ordinance that requires two subdivision entrances for developments over 50 lots prior to approving the development’s preliminary plat.

All other questions raised by the public during the April 27 special meeting on the matter, including why it was left off the agenda prior to the meeting, were not addressed by the mayor and council before the meeting was adjourned.


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