July 19, 2021 — Chairman Phillip Beard called the Buford Board of Commissioners meeting to order at 7 p.m. at the Buford City Arena. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the agenda and minutes from the June 7 meeting were approved.

The first of the public hearings was a request for a special use permit to allow for an automotive repair facility. This was requested by Shane Copeland for 380 Poplar St. The request was approved. The commission approved a special use permit for Kenny Perkins and The Athletic Zone to allow for a sports training facility at 4913 Summer Oak Drive, Suite B. A special use permit was also approved for Alec Ng and Auto Tires LLC to allow for the installation of tires on property located at 4995 B. U. Bowman Drive.

The commission voted to approve three amendments to the city’s zoning ordinances. The first amendment was for Article III, Section 1308, which is for C-2 General Business District, Retail and Services Uses. The special uses are automobile fueling stations, addition of a corridor along I-985. The second amendment is for Article III, Section 1310 for M-1 Light Industry District regarding uses concerning heavy truck fueling stations, addition of a corridor along I-985. The last amendment is for Article X, Section 1001.6 for Location and Surface of Parking Areas. This is to ensure that regardless of district, all parking must be on paved surfaces.

Zoning modifications were approved for Lake Blue Ridge Land Company LLC for parcels located at the intersection of Hamilton Mill Road and North Bogan Road. The first modification was to change the overall C-2 (commercial) gross acreage from 3.75 to 4.45 acres. The remaining modifications are for residential property. The changes are to decrease the overall gross acreage to 12.66 acres from 13.32 acres, to allow 5.79 residential units per acre, to remove the condition of net density by determining residential units and to reduce the front yard setback to 30 feet on North Bogan Road. The representative explained that the company needs the new setback to move the development away from the creek. The units along North Bogan will have their backyards at the road and the development will be putting up wrought iron fencing with columns to make it a gated community.

The commission voted to table signing annexation documents for parcels 7-143-053 and 7-136-010. A public hearing was held on the 2021 property tax millage rate rollback and proposed tax increase for Gwinnett and Hall counties. No public comments were made. A final vote will be taken at the Monday, Aug. 2, meeting. A public hearing was also held for the Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget. No public comments were made. The final vote will also be on Aug. 2.

An amendment to the Fiscal Year 2021 operating budget to reflect actual expenditures through June 30, 2021, was approved. The commission voted to renew the 2021-2022 health insurance policy. The annual dues for the Gwinnett Municipal Association in the amount of $13,446 were approved. The dues are determined based on the city’s population. The city ratified the purchase .034 acres for property located on Bona Road for $105,000. The property will be transferred to the Buford Housing Authority to be part of the Buford Housing Authority project that plans to relocate residents to newly constructed units. After relocation, the land is set to be a part of the new Buford High School stadium project.

Amendments to the theatre and stage rental agreement for the Buford Community Center were approved. The commission voted to have the city participate with Gwinnett County and Artworks! Gwinnett Inc. in a creative economy master plan project. They approved the transfer of .070 acres to the Downtown Development Authority located at East Moreno Street and South Harris Street. A change order to allow for additional sidewalks on Bona Road was approved. The budget was amended for the summer camp athletic programs for Buford City Schools.

The sole bid for the natural gas facilities relocation project for Buford Dam Road at Little Mill Road was approved. The existing gas facilities have to be moved because the county is installing a roundabout at the intersection. Authorization was given to the city manager to sign a work detail agreement with the Georgia Department of Corrections and Phillips State Prison. The commission authorized the release of the pledged funds to Peoples Bank and Trust. Approval was granted to Ozark 54/Blue Cat Productions to allow for filming in August at 5671 Shadburn Ferry Road also known as Nally’s II.

Pay requests were approved for the legion fields improvements project, the 2021 paving project, the Buford Waterworks replacement project, the 2021 gateway landscaping project and the Thrasher Road drainage improvements project.

City Manager Bryan Kerlin gave his monthly report, which included information that the city gave eligible  employees bonuses from part of the money the city was given from the American Rescue Plan approved by Congress. The American Rescue Plan allowed premium pay for essential workers in critical infrastructure sectors who regularly perform in-person work during the pandemic. Design has begun for a passive park area adjacent to the parking deck. Construction is underway for the replacement facility for the new Buford Waterworks filtration plant, which is located beside the existing facility. Once completed, the old structure will be demolished. The Bona Road project is in Phase II and is progressing. The city intends to install a trash compactor on Jones Alley, which will replace the dumpsters that currently sit in the alley.

The parking lot expansion part of the legion fields improvements project is well under way and field seven is 90 percent complete. Summer camps have been a big hit at the tennis courts.

Todd Cleveland reported that 3,500 people attended the concert on June 12 at the Buford Community Center. He expected a good turnout to the concert held on Saturday, July 24. More than 1,200 season tickets have been sold for Buford Community Center shows.

Beard acknowledged Boy Scout Troop 534 for attending the meeting. The troop is working on citizenship badges.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Chris Holcombe asked the commission to address the eyesore and nuisance that the property located at 4990 Little Mill Road is causing. The property has been under construction for four years and the amount of items accumulated on the property has steadily increased. 

With no additional comments, the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting of the Buford commission will be held on Monday, Aug. 2, at the Buford City Arena.

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