Kennesaw millage rate hearing, zoning requests on council agenda

Kennesaw City HallKennesaw government complex (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

By Rebecca Gaunt

Anyone who wishes to comment on the proposed millage rate for the city of Kennesaw will have a chance at the final hearing on Aug. 16 at 10:30 a.m, or during the regular city council meeting Monday at 6:30 p.m.

The city is proposing a rate of 8 mills for maintenance and operation and 1.5 mills for the bond, both the same as last year. This represents a tax increase of 7.27 percent for M&O (maintenance and operations) due to property reassessments and 6.61 percent for bond debt service.

Several zoning matters are also up for a vote.

True North Companies is requesting to eliminate the required commercial component from its central business district development on Main Street. It was originally approved in 2015 as mixed-use in an area that only allows for-rent apartments when mixed with commercial property. According to Zoning Administrator Darryl Simmons, the current layout of the property makes it too difficult to include 10,000 square feet of commercial space and there isn’t room for parking. If adjacent land becomes available in the future, the plan can be adjusted.

The Planning Commission recommended approval, but Council members Pat Ferris and Doc Eaton both expressed frustration at Monday’s work session.

Ferris asked if anyone had done due diligence before approving the plan.

“Anyone that’s ever looked at this piece of property knows it’s a problem,” Ferris said.

Simmons responded that it is just discussion at this point.

“You’re going from a conceptual idea in 2015, then you start looking at the engineering and you start looking at the market. Things have changed in several years,” Simmons said

Eaton has been vocal in the past about problems with developers building the residential portions on approved mixed-use developments and not following through on the commercial aspect.

“I’m getting sick and tired of us approving LCI developments with mixed use, and the residential gets done, and it’s rented, and it’s over, and it’s finished, and we don’t get our commercial piece,” he said.

Also on the agenda:

  • Traton, LLC applied for a variance to allow for the encroachment of six townhomes at 3371 Cherokee St. into the 50-foot and additional 25-foot undisturbed natural stream buffer. The Planning Commission already approved it with the stipulation that two of the townhomes be removed from the buffer and placed elsewhere on the property.
  • Sanctuary Companies requested a parcel split at 3008 Cherokee St. One tract will contain 1.142 acres and the other 0.337 acres.
  • Kennesaw is updating the financial software it has been using for 15 years. Finance Director Gina Auld is recommending approval of a contract with Tyler Technologies for $214,000. The city had budgeted $600,000 to update the program. The city will need to budget annually for ongoing training due to staff changes, according to Auld.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.

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