Change may be coming to Buford by way of distilled spirits package sales.

At the Tuesday, Sept. 6, meeting of the Buford City Commission, the potential adoption of an ordinance and/or resolution of the city of Buford to regulate and provide for the calling of a special municipal election was discussed.

The purpose of this election, set for Tuesday, Nov. 8, would be to allow qualified voters of the city to express their opinions regarding the approval or denial of package sales of distilled spirits and other purposes. Ultimately, the commission voted to amend the ordinance necessary to call the special municipal election and allow residents to decide the issue of package sales within city limits. If package sales of distilled spirits is approved, this would potentially allow the opening of two new package stores.

During a public hearing at Tuesday’s meeting, the Buford City Commission approved three special use permits for local businesses. These permits include a new 10-Minute Oil Change and Auto Repair Shop at 4445 Nelson Brogdon Boulevard. With three drive-thru bay doors, all repairs and oil changes will take place inside the building. These indoor repairs are a condition of the permit’s approval, as is the requirement that the shop will not be allowed to store automotive or junk parts or any equipment on the exterior of the property. No one spoke against the permit’s approval. Building completion and the business opening is projected in less than a year.

Also approved by the commission was a special use permit for a new drive-thru coffee shop at 3700 Buford Drive. The shop will be drive-thru only and the heaviest traffic is anticipated in the mornings when Texas Roadhouse is closed. As a condition of approval, the site plan provided by the city must be followed, and the final site layout must be approved by the planning director. No one spoke against this permit request.

A special use permit requesting the allowance of behavioral therapy services at 1384 Buford Business Boulevard, Suite B500, was also approved. Applicant Robyn Wilson will be developing a behavioral therapy business at this location, as she explained during the meeting. No one spoke to contest the permit’s approval.

The Buford City Commission also approved two annexation requests. A request by Southern Heritage Home Builders LLC for annexation and zoning of the property at 5647 Shadburn Ferry Road was approved. This request brings the property, an island still in the county, into the city, keeping its RA-200 classification. Other requirements of the approval were in regard to building and include a 2800 square foot minimum of heated floor area excluding the garage or basement, a minimum two-car garage with a minimum driveway width of 18 feet, four sides brick or stone, an entirely sodded yard and the mandatory planting of two ornamental trees. No one spoke to contest this annexation.

Ngo Phan Properties LLC received approval for the requested annexation and zoning of the property at 3605 Carter Road from ARIII to RA-200. Similar requirements in regard to building were required and include a 2800 square foot minimum of heated floor area excluding the garage or basement, a minimum two-car garage with a minimum driveway width of 18 feet, four sides brick or stone, an entirely sodded yard and the mandatory planting of two ornamental trees. This annexation passed without contest.

During the meeting following the public hearing, commissioners unanimously approved the subdivision plat for LongAcre Industrial Development. They then followed by authorizing the city manager and city attorney to purchase property on New Street, as well as authorizing the chairman to sign the necessary documents to transfer the property to the Downtown Development Authority upon closing. A vote by the commission also approved the purchase of property at 680 Forest St., parcel #7-296-006, in the amount of $300,000.

The chairman was authorized by unanimous vote to enter into final negotiations and sign an agreement to extend a contract with Republic Services for commercial/industrial sanitation services. Republic Services have serviced the city for the past five years under contract, and that contract is up for renewal.

A staff recommendation of Keck & Wood for the design and engineering services for the Buford Multi Use Trail, Garnett Street Extension, was approved. This approval also includes the use of guidelines as set forth by the Georgia Department of Transportation and authorizes staff to enter into contract negotiation. A plan to review fee schedule services with Keck & Wood during the renewal of the contract was also part of the conversation and was approved.

Commissioners approved the granting of an easement on Southside Road to Gwinnett County for access to backflow prevention devices and to service the domestic water meter at the Southside Sewer Plant. A contract with Ryalls Brothers LLC for small asphalt paving and patching services was also discussed and approved. Additionally, an update was adopted regarding the City of Buford Policy for Competitive Negotiation Qualifications-based Selection for projects using Federal Aid Highway Program funding.

There was discussion amongst commissioners about the release of pledged funds with Peoples Bank & Trust, with Chairman Phillip Beard recusing himself from the otherwise unanimous vote of approval for the release. The commission then authorized payment of final invoice #18137-06 for the new Buford High School Stadium, as well as payment of final invoice #6 for the Buford High School baseball and softball scoreboards and installation project. Payment #6 was also approved for the Buford Middle School Visitor Fieldhouse project, and the commission also approved the payment of invoice #4 of the Buford Middle School renovations project, and for invoice #3 of the Buford Academy renovations project. Also paid was payment #15 for the water plant expansion project, payment #1 for the Hamilton Mill Road gas main replacement project, payment of invoice #4 for the passive park at Harris Street project and payment of invoice #1 for the Buford New Street relocation project.

The city manager and city attorney updated the commission with their report, at which point discussion focused on the upcoming annual fall concert, which will feature Jake Owen and will be hosted by the Buford Community Center at 6 p.m. Oct. 1. The event will be held on the concert lawn, and admission is free. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. and shuttles will be available from Buford High School. Guests are invited to bring blankets or chairs, but outside food and drink are not allowed since concessions will be available. Pets are prohibited. For more information, visit

Before closing the meeting, Beard allowed public comments and answered questions about current plans for the new Buford High School stadium. The stadium will seat approximately 17,000 people and will have a field house and press box. A resident started a discussion about making sure the light is on the flag at night, as it has been out for a couple of weeks. Clarification was requested about the passive park being installed on Harris Street, and Beard said the city hopes the development will encourage people to relax and enjoy the area, including any potential new restaurants that may come to that area. The continuation of the sidewalk down Forest Street was mentioned, with the chairman responding that such an extension is planned for the long term but is still in development with the necessary funds still needing to be secured. The Buford City Commission then voted to close the meeting, with plans for the next meeting to be held Monday, Oct. 3.

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