Cartersville denies Old Mill rezoning

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Mayor Matt Santini on Thursday night broke a tie vote on a rezoning before the city council.After a 3-3 tie on the rezoning request for 118 Old Mill Road, Santini acted a tiebreaker, voting to deny the request.Billy Wright, owner of the property, sought to rezone the 63 1/2 acres to an industrial option to allow for a facility up to 1 million square feet. Uses adjacent to the area, according to city council information, included industrial, restaurant, gas station, office space and residential.The proposed rezoning met with staunch disapproval from residents of the Waterford, which adjoins the property. “I would ask that new information be provided. Council has had a good bit of information and has heard from a number of people on both sides,” Santini said before opening the meeting to public comment.More than a half dozen opponents spoke against the rezoning, including Waterford resident Mike Sinclair.“The future land use map did have this as residential, and although I know that there is surrounding lands around it that do have industrial, that’s no reason to say that this is the best use of this really wonderful piece of property,” he said. “I had a conversation with my 12-year-old son. ... Even he was just beyond himself that the city of Cartersville would look to the future and would zone this as a more industrial space when we’ve got some great neighborhoods well within this area that you don’t necessarily want to just choke those neighborhoods out with more industrial. “I pray that you will look to what this decision will mean for your children, my children, your grandchildren because it’s a critical decision. And I pray that you will make a valuable decision for the community as a whole, not just for this developer who wants to build a speculative facility, we don’t know who the end user is, and I just think it’s way too much.”John Lewis, however, said the land was surrounded by industrial usage. “I don’t know what else he can do with this piece of property except rezone it and put industrial property on it,” Lewis said.After the vote to deny the rezoning, Wright was heard saying, “I’m not going anywhere.”In other action, the council:• Approved an annexation and rezoning application for 2.2 acres at 115 Cherokee Circle, part of “a larger donut hole of properties” in the area of Cherokee Circle and Indian Trail.• Voted to approve an amendment to the utility fees ordinance that will charge city customers who pay for utility bills and other city invoices with a credit or debit card a flat convenience fee of $3.95 per transaction.• Appointed Mary Ann Henry and Pam Wilson to the Downtown Development Authority board.• Changed the time of the March 17 meeting to 9 a.m. for Civic Youth Day.• Increased the hotel/motel tax to 8 percent. The city is working with the county on the increase from 6 to 8 percent.• Approved a not-to-exceed agreement for $7,500 for subsurface exploration of the northwest corner of the Cook Street property that experience sinkholes this summer. • Paid a $7,348 invoice for the city’s email archive system.• Purchased CityView software for use on permits, licenses and code enforcement issues in the amount of $102, 021.• Voted to apply for a $295,167 grant to apply thermoplastic striping and raised pavement markers to 52 city streets. The city’s will match the 30 percent requirement with in-kind work.• Approved $6,900 for Smith & Smith Land Surveyors for work on the process of moving a sewer main on Ohio Street in Atco.• Approved a not-to-exceed of $34,500 for engineering on phase III of the North Erwin Street Water Main replacement. The 2,200 feet will replace “vintage pipe” from the late 1800s in the area of Aubrey and Porter streets.• Agreed to the purchase of a third pump for the Center Road pump station because a failing pump needs to be rebuilt. The approved price was $9,850.• Voted to surplus athletic field lighting from Richard Bell field and Dellinger Park.• Heard a summary of the city’s visioning session.