15 Sep 2014
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Sharon Springs: Should Forsyth Form a Second City?

A nonprofit group of volunteers is looking into the possibility of forming Sharon Springs, which would be south of Cumming.

Sharon Springs: Should Forsyth Form a Second City?
A group of South Forsyth County residents has formed a nonprofit organization to consider forming a second city—possibly called Sharon Springs.

The city of Cumming is the only municipality in Forsyth County with about 5,500 residents, according to the Sharon Springs Alliance. Forsyth's population topped 175,500  in the 2010 U.S. Census.

The group is "comprised of neighbors in South Forsyth County who are studying whether the formation of a new city is both necessary and feasible," according to its website. "We are comprised of citizens who love our quality of life but are concerned about the rampant growth in our area and would like local control returned to our community." 

They hope to commission a $30,000, six-month feasibility study by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, according to Access North Georgia.

With a series of public meetings, the volunteer-based group hopes to discuss the pro and cons of cityhood and share feedback with stakeholders, according to NorthFulton.com.

"I think it's great to explore this as an option to some of the problems in South Forsyth," Sharon Springs Alliance co-founder Phillip Barlag told the publication. "It is not the position of SSA that incorporating a city is the answer—just that it may be the answer."

Some of those problems include overcrowding in schools, deteriorating green space and air and water quality, traffic and a "rampant" rate of development, according to the group's website,  sharonspringsga.org

The group says it has "very little" representation with Forsyth's current five-seat Board of Commissioners.

"Forsyth County is drawn up into five districts and a commissioner is elected from each of the five districts," the website says. "However, all five commissioners vote on all policy, zoning applications, development decision, etc...decisions about local issues are often made by commissioners with little—or no—accountability to the local electorate." 

Ninety percent of all the county's zoning decisions impact the area proposed for possible cityhood, but the residents' voice on those decisions are neither being heard nor reflected in decisions made by the Board of Commissioners, Barlag told  NorthFulton.com

The group says its striving for a more accountable government, better long-term planning, to improve community identity and to protect property values, in addition to slow the overcrowding of schools and promote a better quality of life, which would include a downtown area.

"Our Cumming or Suwanee mailing addresses aren't really accurate; we don't live in those cities and our community needs an identity of its own," its website says. "It’s time to explore whether our community is ready to become a city. The Sharon Springs Alliance is dedicated to examining the feasibility of incorporating this area...into its own, independent city."

The alliance will host a series of public meetings to introduce the proposed map, discuss the pros and cons of cityhood, and share feedback between residents, local businesses and interested stakeholders, according to a press release announcing the group's formation. SSA is actively seeking volunteers to help in the effort. Meeting dates and volunteer opportunities will be posted on the website.

The main borders of the proposed 44-square-mile city of Sharon Springs would be:

  • East: Chattachooche River
  • South: Fulton County
  • West: GA 400 (From Fulton County Line to Cumming City Limits)
  • North: Bordering Cumming City Limits to GA-20 down to Samples Road and then Haw Creek toward the Chattahoochee River

Should Forsyth form a second city? 

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