An annexation dispute between the city of Buford and Hall County that was brought before the Georgia Department of Community Affairs has reached a conclusion.
On June 7, a five-member arbitration panel formed by the DCA denied Hall County’s objection to the annexation and rezoning of property at 6533 McEver Road into the city of Buford.
Developer CA Ventures had requested annexation of the 34-plus acres and a rezoning to M-1 (light industrial). According to the city of Buford, the proposal includes two warehouses totaling about 396,000 square feet.
Hall County’s objections to the annexation and rezoning included the material increase in infrastructure demands on the county that the rezoning could create; that the proposed rezoning would allow for a significantly more intense use of the property than that under the county’s existing zoning; that the annexation and rezoning would be inconsistent with the county’s comprehensive plan; and that the area has been developed with residential subdivisions.
A previous application requesting a rezoning came before the Hall County Board of Commissioners, and the request was withdrawn due to what the county described as “considerable opposition.” A subsequent request for annexation and rezoning was made to the city of Flowery Branch but was also withdrawn.
The arbitration panel’s considerations and findings include:
- The proposed annexation is currently zoned AR-3 (agricultural residential) by Hall County and is bounded by two parcels zoned PCD (planned commercial development) and HBD (highway business district).
- Existing and pending developments north and south of the McEver Road parcel are commercial and industrial in nature, as well as high density residential. The annexation and rezoning request to LI (light industrial) appears consistent with a higher level of development density within a mile of the proposed annexation.
- The degree of development density allowed under the city of Buford’s LI zoning designation is not significantly greater than the same permitted density that could occur under Hall County’s LI zoning.
The city of Buford must provide water and sewer services to the property. Further, any improvements within the vicinity of the property, such as right-of-way improvements, will fall to the city of Buford and the property owners.
Bryan Kerlin, city manager for Buford, said the annexation and rezoning process for the property will begin again given there’s no objection by Hall County in Superior Court.
A request for comment made to Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Richard Higgins was declined, with the county’s public information officer citing potential litigation.