July 20, 2020 — Chairman Phillip Beard called the July 2020 meeting of the Buford Board of Commissioners to order at 7 p.m. at the Buford Arena. Following the pledge, the agenda was approved, as well as, minutes from the June 1 regular meeting and from special called meetings on June 18 and June 25 regarding Buford Water and Sewer Bond issue.
The public hearing phase of the meeting opened with a rezoning request from Donna Siebold for 395 East Main Street, better known as the Bona Allen Mansion. She requested that the zoning be changed from Commercial C-2 to Residential R-100 as she intends to make this her private residence instead of having their business at this address. The request was approved. Oakmont Pacolet Acquisitions, LLC requested that 33.059 acres be rezoned from C-2 to M-1. A nearby resident was present to oppose this request. The request was approved.
CHI/Acquisitions, L.P. requested that 96.029 acres on McEver Road which neighbors Blackberry Lane and backs up to Lake Lanier be rezoned from C-2 to M-1 to allow for four buildings ranging from 275,000 square feet to 350,000 square feet for industrial development. Approximately 15 residents from Blackberry Lane and surrounding areas to this proposed development were present to oppose the development. A spokesperson for the residents presented to the Board a petition with over 50 signatures of persons that will be impacted by the development. Some of the concerns that the residents brought up were the construction dust, silt running into Lake Lanier, future pollution of two creeks on the property which run into Lake Lanier, noise from the 24-hour operations proposed there, increased traffic, and decreased property values. A representative from the development was also present and showed residents some of the features that would be in place to help reduce the impact on their property. The Board voted to approve the request.
A special use permit for CGH A&D, LLC to allow townhomes on 1.946 acres located on Wiley Drive was requested. They requested to be allowed to put eight units per acre. The Board denied the request.
Chris Howell requested annexation of his property of 1.11 acres located at 3550 North Bogan Road with a zoning of RA-200. The request was approved. Jimmie Bennett, Shane Bennett, and Pam Reed requested annexation of their property of 7.3 acres located at 4200 Thompson Mill Road with a zoning of R-100. The request was approved.
The final plat for Holland Point Retail, LLC (new Publix development at Hamilton Mill and Bogan) was approved. The final plat for Harbor Landing was approved. The boat ramps are set to open in approximately 30 days and will have clearly posted operating hours, automatic gates, and have no entrance fee. The Board voted to amend the Fiscal Year 2020 operating budget to reflect actual expenditures through June 30, 2020. The 2020-2021 health insurance policy was renewed. Authorization was given to the City Manager to sign documents for construction easements and dedication of .260 acres for a right-of-way extending Oakbrook Drive for development located off South Lee Street. The Board approved the low bid from Summit Construction & Development in the amount of $102,621.25 for the extension of the left turn lane on Buford Highway southbound at Robert Bell Parkway. The GDOT is funding $51,000 of that amount.
The Board voted to approve a resolution with Gwinnett County and to develop a hazard mitigation plan in order to receive FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant funding. The 2014 Buford and Gwinnett County joint SPLOST project expenditures in the amount of $731,093,81 for the widening of SR 20 from S. Lee Street to Buford Highway was approved. The Board voted to ratify the action of acquiring property located on Railroad Avenue in the amount of $125,000. The 2020-2021 Gwinnett Municipal Association membership dues in the amount of $13,446 were approved. Authorization was given to release pledged funds to People’s Bank & Trust.
The Commission approved payments for the Buford multi-use trail project, the legion field improvements project, the Buford parking deck project, the Southside Wastewater Plant Flow Diversion Structure, the SR 324 at SR 124 gas relocation project, the SR 316 at Harbins Road gas relocation project, and the Moreno Street water relocation.
City Manager Bryan Kerlin updated residents on various projects within the city. He stated that the playground located on East Shadburn Avenue, adjacent to Buford City Gym, is open and the tennis courts remain open. Legion fields 7 and 8 are being used. Phase I of the renovation includes Fields 1 thru 4 and the concession stand and should be completed by the end of July. Buford’s share of funds granted by the CARES Act went to cover expenditures for sanitation, PPE supplies, and other items that the city had to purchase due to COVID-19. The multi-use trail project that will run in between South Harris and South Garnett Streets will be complete by and will be .36 miles long with an additional .42 miles of sidewalks available along Garnett Street. There will be a parking lot available off of New Street. The parking deck project work along Jones Alley is expected to be completed by the end of August. Road work around the project is slated to wrap up at the end of September. The water plant had general maintenance and repair items take place. The gas, sewer, and electrical departments had numerous projects in various stages of completion.
Chairman Beard opened the floor to public comments. The president of the Harbor Landing Condominiums HOA spoke up to the Commission asking about their plans for the boat ramps at the development. He had concerns about crime, drug use, and trash that they feared would come with the reopening of the boat ramps especially without the city setting an entrance fee. Mr. Beard and Mr. Kerlin addressed his concerns and said the city at this time would not be charging fees and that the ramps would be operated like other day-use facilities around the lake.
This concluded the July 2020 meeting of the Board of Commissioners. The next meeting is slated to take place on August 3 at Buford City Arena at 7 p.m.
— Staff Reports