During its meeting Tuesday night, the board discussed concerns that a proposed development by Oak Hall Companies at the intersection of Barnes and Trickum roads would add to traffic issue outside the school and impact a nearby county fire station.
To combat the issues, commissioners discussed submitting a formal, legal objection to the developer’s request to the city of Woodstock to annex the 82 acres needed for the project out of the county and into the city. But after a lengthy discussion, the board voted unanimously — with Commissioner Raymond Gunnin absent — to back off on its protest as long as the developer works to solve the problems the subdivision will create.
To avoid the board’s protest, the company will have to draw up a contract that it will donate land to Cherokee County for a future construction project to widen Trickum Road and to add an extra turn lane from Barnes Road onto Trickum.
Oak Hall Companies will also have to donate land to the county for the future expansion of Cherokee County Fire Station 7, which is down the street from the development on Barnes Road and would see more residents added to its coverage area if the subdivision is built.
The attorney representing Oak Hall Companies, Parks F. Huff, who suggested some of the compromises, told the Board of Commissioners his client would most likely accept the requirements.
Commissioners said during the meeting Tuesday that traffic is already an issue at the intersection of Barnes Road and Trickum Road, where the development is proposed.
Commissioner Harry Johnston said the development would only make the problem worse, especially during peak morning traffic when students are being dropped off at Little River Elementary.
“My biggest concern about this remains that we have an intersection that is, at certain times of the day, performing at an unacceptable level,” Johnston said. “There’s no question that this development will compound that problem. It’ll reach a really critical level during that morning school hour.”
Cherokee County Engineer Geoff Morton said the cause of the traffic now seen near the school is not only from Little River Elementary but also from at least five other schools in the area.
“You’ve got a high density of schools there, all starting about the same time,” Morton said. “If you go through the intersection during June and July, it’s not really a problem — it’s the other 10 months out of the year.”
Considering how bad traffic in the area already is, Johnston said he anticipated a backlash from the public if the board didn’t object or if the issues weren’t solved.
“What I’m going to read in the paper is complaints from people, ‘Why in the world, how in the world, could you approve this when there’s already a terrible problem, and you knew this we’re going to make it worse?,’” he said. “That’s kind of what I’m facing.”
Commissioner Jason Nelms said he agreed but that he wasn’t sure the board had any legal grounds to protest the development.
“From the lens I’m looking through, I know that property well, and I’d hate to see disturbance of that,” he said. “But in some regard, I don’t know that we have the grounds to object.”
Johnston said if the requirements laid out to the developer are met, he supported not opposing the proposed annexation.
“At this point, I’m comfortable if we can work something out,” he said.
For Oak Hall Companies to have its request to annex its 82 acres into the city of Woodstock, it will have to present a contract to the Board of Commissioners stating its intentions to live up to the board’s requests. The contract will have to be turned in with enough time for the board to approve or deny before its deadline to legally object Sep. 25.
The developer will also have to pass two public hearings in Woodstock and a vote from the Woodstock City Council.
The first public hearing is set for Oct. 3 during the Woodstock Planning Commission meeting. The second will be during the City Council meeting Oct. 28. The council will take the final vote after the hearing.
During the Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, the board also:
• Voted unanimously, with Commissioner Raymond Gunnin absent, to grant an extension to McClendon and Associates for completion of a forensic audit into the county’s dealings with Ball Ground Recycling. The board approved extending the deadline for completion from Sept. 12 to Sept. 20;
• Unanimously approved a professional services agreement with CorrectHealth Cherokee to provide medical, dental and overall health services for the inmates at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center at an annual cost of $1,891,213;
• Voted unanimously to approve renewal of a professional services agreement in the amount of $600,000 with Trinity Services Group to provide food services to the inmates at the CCADC. The cost per meal, per inmate is around 82 cents, County Manager Jerry Cooper said;
• Unanimously approved renewing a contract with A and S Commissary Services for commissary service and equipment at the CCADC. The county receives 34 percent commission form the commissary, Cooper said;
• Voted unanimously to renew a contract with Consolidated Telecom for use by the inmates at the CCADC. Cooper said the county gets 68 percent commission from the company;
• Unanimously approved waiving 50 percent of impact fees for Inalfa Roof Systems, resulting in about a $48,000 cut in the company’s impact fees to the county for the new facility under construction at the Cherokee 75 Corporate Park;
• Voted unanimously to approve the purchase of 30 vehicle wireless routers for the fire department from Utility Associates for $52,345;
• Unanimously approved buying the fire department 52 handheld tablets from CTL for $42,536;
• Vote unanimously to purchase 10 thermal imaging cameras for the fire department from Georgia Fire and Rescue Supply for $102,110;
• Unanimously approved renewing the county’s property and casualty insurance program through Insurance Office of America for coverage by One Beacon in the total amount of $694,390;
• Voted unanimously to accept a federal juvenile reinvestment grant agreement in the amount of $110,000 and to authorize to necessary budget amendment allocating the money in the county’s adopted fiscal year 2013 budget; and
• Unanimously approved a supplemental agreement from NJ Wilbanks Contracting Co. for additional paving work on Commerce Boulevard for $25,791.