FLOWERY BRANCH – Flowery Branch Mayor Pro Tem Joe Anglin paused briefly Thursday evening before casting the deciding vote that would keep alive an annexation and rezoning request allowing for the construction of a townhome community on two parcels of land along McEver Road.
The motion Anglin was considering was made by Councilwoman Leslie Jarchow and supported by Councilwoman Amy Farah, a motion to deny annexation, and that would have effectively ended efforts by Fall Leaf, LLC, to develop the combined 25.46-acres as part of the city of Flowery Branch.
Councilmen Chris Mundy and Ed Asbridge had already indicated they would not support killing the annexation request. Now it was Anglin’s turn to break the 2-2 deadlock and he said, “If we’re going to annex-in a piece of property, into the city limits, the development that comes in and the rezoning that is there with it…we’ve got to know specifically what is going on that property.”
“Does the density work? That’s one of the issues that we have right now, for me at least; there needs to be a tweaking of the density,” Anglin explained. He also said the design plans submitted by the applicant, especially the building elevations, were lacking the details he needed to see.
Farah and Jarchow’s position on Fall Leaf’s requests reflected the ongoing saga of the application. Originally submitted last year as a plan to construct 173-townhomes, the city council wanted that number lowered and more detailed design plans included.
The developer returned with plans for six less townhomes and design plans that still did not satisfy council members.
Then in March, 2021, Hall County filed an official protest over the proposed annexation and Fall Leaf subsequently withdrew its application, but by June the application was resubmitted.
“With all due respect, didn’t we ask them for more information a year ago?” Jarchow asked aloud. “I don’t feel like we have enough information to vote on this.”
Farah added, “I’m struggling because I agree. We’ve been here already and I feel like we’re asking the same questions and I don’t feel like I have any more answers than I did several months ago.”
Anglin rubbed his chin and said, “So I’m voting ‘No’ on the denial right now in hopes that as we go through this process there will be something brought to us that is a ‘dolled-up version’ of what’s coming to us right now.”
“So with that, the motion (to deny) fails,” Anglin said, and asked for a new motion to be considered.
After a detailed explanation from City Attorney Ron Bennett about the legal aspects of possible alternate motions, council members asked the applicant if he would be willing to have his request tabled until a later date so he could work to provide the city council with enhanced design and landscape plans and a reduced number of housing units.
Fall Leaf, LLC, spokesman Neal Hende said he felt a month should be sufficient time for the needed adjustments to be made.
A motion to table Fall Leaf’s requests until the September 2, 2021, city council meeting was made: Farah and Jarchow voted against the measure; Anglin, Asbridge and Mundy voted for the extension.