Buford Commission Meeting Minutes – August 2018

Staff Reports

August 6, 2018 – The monthly City of Buford Commission Meeting was called to order promptly at 7 p.m. in the Commission Chambers at the city hall.  The September meeting will be on September 4, 2018 due to the Labor Day Holiday.

The first rezoning request was submitted by Southern Heritage Homebuilders, LLC for the land that made up what was once Lanier Harbor Marina off of Buford Dam Road and Pine Tree Drive.  Southern Heritage Homebuilders also requests that another parcel containing 16.12 acres be granted a special use permit to build up to 120 attached townhomes with double car garages.  On an adjacent 1.214 acre parcel at 2066 Pine Tree Drive, a zoning request was approved to change from C-2 (Commercial) to RL (Residential Lakeside), which also included the special use permit for townhomes.  The developer will provide a plan to improve the boat ramp area leased from the Army Corp of Engineers by the City and also provide for a new publicly dedicated roadway serving the new complex, existing residences and the boat ramp area.  The City plans to open and operate the boat ramp area after improvements are approved and completed.  The developer agreed to the conditional zoning and the Commission approved the special use permit to allow for the townhomes.  Chairman Beard abstained from the vote.

EpiCity, Inc. requested that 22.415 acres that is between South Lee Street and Buford Highway be rezoned from O & I (Office Institutional)/C-2 (Commercial) to M-1 (Industrial).  The proposal is for a 272,800 square foot warehouse.  A representative for Brookdale Senior Living Center stated their concerns about the industrial plans for this request.  Representatives for EpiCity stated that they would meet the list of conditions that the planning and zoning committee recommended.  The request was approved.

A special use permit was denied to allow Heather Brown to operate a tattoo business at 4977 Lanier Islands Parkway, Suite 107.  

A special use permit was requested by SAIA LTL Freight to operate a 24 hour truck terminal off of Plunkett Road and Blue Ridge Drive.  The applicant states that the trucks would travel to the site via SR 20 to Blue Ridge Drive and along the newly constructed extension of Blue Ridge Drive.  As trucks exit Blue Ridge onto Plunkett Road, trucks would only be allowed to travel northbound on Plunkett Road to SR 20.  Several residents that would be affected by the trucking terminal spoke in opposition of the development.  Most residents worried about the noise, lighting, traffic, and pollution. A discussion ensued with conditions adding additional buffers, containment of lighting so as to only illuminate the development property and no use of outside speakers or intercoms. The Commission voted to approve the special use permit with Weeks abstaining from vote.

W & A Engineering requested a special use permit for a 1.02 acre tract of land on Buford Drive to allow for a drive-thru window for a restaurant.  This request is for a Popeye’s restaurant with planned operating hours of 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The proposal was approved with conditions.

An annexation request was brought before the Commission by Jason Jackson in regards to 410 Thunder Road.  The 2.844 acres will remain R-100 and be split into 4 lots with the existing home to be lot #1. With a few conditions, the annexation request was approved.

Lula Nell Wallace Richardson requested her property located at 2961 Gravel Springs Road be annexed into the city under the same zoning of RA-200.  The request for 35.166 acres to be annexed was approved.

A resolution was approved calling for a special municipal election for a referendum to allow Buford citizens to vote on whether Buford is authorized to permit and regulate Sunday sales of distilled spirits or alcoholic beverages by the drink from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The election will be held on November 6, 2018.

The City adopted its Fiscal Year 2019 budget with Chairman Beard giving an overview.  The budget included a tax increase, as defined by State law, in that the rollback millage is the rate set so the same amount of tax would be collected as 2017 after reassessments.  The new Buford City Schools millage rate was reduced by .05 mills to 12.75 mills in both Gwinnett County and Hall County in the City limits of Buford or approximately 2.5% above the rollback rate.

The Commission approved the 2019 budget.  They voted to renew the medical, dental, and vision insurance policy for 2018-19 for city employees. A moratorium was approved for issuance of permits for tattoo businesses through December 31, 2018.  Charles Black Construction was approved as the city construction manager for the parking deck. The Commission authorized the City Manager and City Attorney to purchase 14 acres of land on Heraeus Boulevard currently owned by St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company.  The intended use is to be a bus lot for the city school system buses as the current lot is bursting at the seams. Various other pieces of business was brought before the Commission and approved.

Todd Cleveland from the BCC stated that the next Theatre Buford production, See Rock City would begin on August 10, 2018 and run for three weeks.  Tickets are still available. The next free outdoor concert features Mother’s Finest on August 11, 2018.  Gates open at 6 p.m. and concert starts at 7 p.m.

City Manager Bryan Kerlin gave his report.  He discussed the downtown parking deck and the finalizing of plans and bids for the deck.  South Lee Street is largely completed but there is a list of “punch list” items to be addressed.  The water plant completed phase two of pilot testing of water filters with selection slated by the end of the year for use in the new water plant.  The new ball fields and landscaping is being addressed at the new BHS.  Various gas and electrical projects are underway. Fall rec baseball and softball registration is in progress.  Rec football and cheer had a kick off day on Saturday. Tennis adult and youth activities are ongoing.

After the City Attorney had nothing to add nor did any member of the audience, the meeting was adjourned.

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