January 4, 2021 — Commission Chairman Phillip Beard called the January meeting of the Buford Commission to order at 7 p.m. at the Buford Arena. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the commission voted to approve the agenda and the Dec. 14, 2020, meeting minutes. Phillip Beard was voted to be the commission chairman and Chris Burge was voted to serve as the commission vice chairman for 2021. The commission appointed the various department heads for 2021, appointed Robert Perkins to the city planning and zoning board and reappointed Winston Beard, Dwayne Cash and Stanley Reed to the city zoning board of appeals. They also set the qualifying fee for the Nov. 2, 2021, election at $35.
ACM Satilla LN V LLC asked that 12.53 acres on Brown Road be annexed and rezoned from O & I to M-1. Ronald Cropper, Nancy Evans, Cathay Cropper and William Cropper requested that 2.80 acres on Brown Road be annexed and rezoned from RA-200 to M-1. ACM Satilla LN V LLC requested annexation and rezoning from RSR to M-1 of 70.58 acres also located on Brown Road. Kilburn Commercial Properties LLC requested that its property located at 2368 Brown Road of 3 acres, as well as 1.998 acres also on Brown Road, be rezoned from RA-200 to M-1. These are to allow for warehouses to be built. Beard asked if anyone in the audience had any objections or comments concerning the proposed development. No one came forward, so the commission approved these requests.
Prime Interest Development requested that 4.145 acres located on South Lee Street be rezoned from C-2 to M-1 to allow for four office-warehouse buildings. The city put in the conditions that all four buildings have enhanced storefront architectural treatments. Marty Orr asked the commission to not use the enhancements on some of the buildings, but the commission refused, stating the area calls for it with the new NE Georgia Health System medical building next door. The request with the conditions in place was approved.
Maudlyn Akarue requested that the property located at 5497 North Richland Creek Road be rezoned from R-100 to O-I with a special use permit to allow a group personal care home. Residents of North Richland Creek Road represented by Phillip Perkins objected to the proposed group personal care home. The commission denied the application stating this just wasn’t a good fit for the neighborhood.
Rose L. McLeod requested a special use permit to allow a church at 2709 Faith Industrial Drive, Suite 100. The commission approved the permit.
The commission voted to amend the 2000 City of Buford Zoning Ordinance and the 2000 City of Buford Development Regulations. A gentleman representing the property owner of 939 Gainesville Highway objected to the changes, stating this would severely impact his client’s ability to do business. The amendments classified or re-classified roadways set new stormwater development regulations required by the state of Georgia and will now require new gas stations locating in the city to receive special use permits from the city commission, as will stations being upgraded or redeveloped.
The commission authorized the city manager to enter into an agreement with a firm to appraise and assist in acquiring properties for the new Buford High School Stadium that would be located on Buford Highway directly across from the new high school. The commission authorized the city manager to proceed with advertising the official zoning map of the city of Buford for it to be officially adopted by the city commission.
The commission approved pay requests for the Moreno Street water improvements project, Buford parking deck project and the legion fields improvements project.
City Manager Bryan Kerlin gave his monthly report, which included an update on the city’s COVID-19 operating protocol. COVID-19 slightly delayed the start to the youth basketball season, but games were set to get underway this weekend. Tennis courts are open and being used. Youth baseball and softball signups are open at www.BufordSports.com. Utility consumption is down by 4.88 percent over the same period the previous year, but Kerlin stated demand is slowly edging back toward pre-COVID-19 demand. Signage will be installed on the new Greenway Trail. Mirrors will be installed at the new parking deck for drivers to better see other vehicles and some streetscaping still needs to be completed around the new structure. Buford Waterworks has general maintenance and repair and bids for the expansion project were slated to open Jan. 14, 2021. The city won a $2.264 million grant for the Moreno Street Pedestrian and Streetscape project. The project is entering the easement and right-of-way acquisition phase with completion planned for late 2024. Todd Cleveland with the BCC said they are able to offer a few shows with limited seating capacity. For more information, visit www.bufordcommunitycenter.com.
Chairman Beard introduced the new Gwinnett County Police Department North Precinct commander, Maj. Joel Whitt. The city has hired a public relations director, Katie Strickland, a Buford graduate who most recently was the public relations director for the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Northern District.
Chairman Beard asked if any audience members had any new business or comments. A downtown Buford business owner thanked the city for the new parking deck. With no further comments, the meeting was adjourned.
The next Buford Commission meeting will be held Feb. 1, 2021, at the Buford Arena.
— Staff Reports