WOODSTOCK — The Woodstock City Council has approved the annexation of property including the proposed Inline Communities conservation subdivision, and on second reading its budget for the 2020 fiscal year.

Council members reviewed the Inline Communities annexation rezoning and charter amendment for a second reading, and approved it with a 4-2 vote. Council members Colin Ake and Warren Johnson opposed the measure. Mayor Donnie Henriques was absent from the meeting.

The vote annexes 148 acres on Arnold Mill Road, which includes a large tract planned for a 242-home conservation subdivision and two other tracts that connect to the rest of city limits. Cherokee County commissioners recently voted to sue the city over the decision, and state Rep. John Carson has said he plans to file legislation to reverse the annexation in the next General Assembly session.

The city’s budget for 2020 is $44.3 million, down from the current fiscal year’s amended budget at $46 million. It includes a partial rollback of the property tax millage rate to 6.57 mills. The budget was approved unanimously by council members at their meeting Thursday.

Under the new budget, Woodstock will have three new full-time positions: an assistant city manager, a GIS analyst and a project coordinator. There will also be an added part-time bailiff and a part-time wastewater treatment plant operator.

The newly approved budget projects Woodstock’s debt balance at $28.1 million, a 36 percent decrease from the fiscal year 2012 balance.

City employees received a preliminary tax digest from Cherokee County in May that was slightly lower than anticipated, but they expect to see changes between now and when taxes are collected, said Budget Analyst Crystal Welch. Recurring revenues are projected to rise 1 percent.

Also at the meeting, councilmembers approved changes to a neighborhood at Neese Road and Henry Drive, which was previously approved for 54 units on 18.78 acres. The new plan has 46 units, and creates more green space to the north of the property. A redesign was required because the applicant discovered environmentally sensitive areas after receiving the city’s approval, staff reported. The applicant also requested new variances to reduce front and rear setbacks from 25 feet to 15 feet. The new plan also increases minimum lot sizes from 5,500 to 6,000 square feet, and includes two future connections to properties to the west and to Neese Road.

Council members, staff and the applicant debated how to protect the northern green space. Staff recommended requiring a fence to mark the property line at lots abutting the green space, and the applicant preferred signs posted between houses. The council voted for all recommendations, including the fence, 4-2, with Ake and Councilman Potts opposed.


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