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UPDATE: City Council Tables 2nd Read Charter Amendment

Peachtree Corners city leaders worked through a full agenda Tuesday night that included establishing an economic development program and creating development powers.

Update: March 6, 11:30 a.m.

From the editor: To further clarify last night's discussion at the City Council meeting, currently second reads are required for all ordinances (laws) including land use changes such as Special Use Permits or Zoning Conditions. It was felt that it put an additional burden on businesses which is why the change was requested. However, in other cases second reads would allow citizens more time to review and provide input into the proposed ordinance. The city will look into amending the requirements so that a second read would not be required for planning and zoning issues, but would be required for other proposed ordinances.

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After the mayor's surprise announcement last week that the City of Peachtree Corners would not be purchasing the Roberts property, Tuesday night's session was more business as usual.

Yet the council still packed in a number of items, including one that has become a point of contention for some. The elimination of the second read requirement, which city leaders said would help streamline the approval process, was tabled after hearing from a number of citizens who were against it.

"I am concerned over the ordinance to switch from two reads to one read," said Mim Harris during the public comment portion of the meeting. Harris said she felt that with the two-read process people have a chance to study a proposed ordinance after it's introduced during the first read.

"I want to reinforce what Mim said about waving the two-read policy," said Ali Stinson who also spoke during the period for public comments. "We need time to read and understand the proposed ordinances."

Second reads are listed under old business in the city council agenda and are the final step in a three-and-a-half-month approval process. By reducing the second read requirement, the city would be able to reduce that process by at least two weeks.

Diana Wheeler, the Community Development Director, provided a hypothetical time line of a typical business application.

"Let's say on Jan. 1 a business submitted an application for special use permit. It would be March 12 before the Planning Commission heard it, then April 9 when it came before the City Council for a first read and April 16 for the second read," she explained.

"Other communities don't have second reads," Wheeler added. "Two reads delays the process and confuses people as they think they can speak at the first read (which is not permitted). It's also inconvenient to the public."

The City Council spent some time discussing the issue, and decided at the end to table the decision to approve of the ordinance to amend the charter.

"I'm happy they tabled this," said Juan Blanco, HOA president for the Gran River subdivision. "Reducing to one read only shortens the process by two weeks but it gives the public more time to contact their City Council member if they have questions. It's a more viable democratic process," he said.

The City Council did approve the other item under old business, an ordinance to establish an Economic Development Program.

In new business council heard a first read to consider amending a zoning ordinance and giving a special use permit to allow Newell Recycling of Gwinnett to operate the addition of metal recycling and auto salvage operations at its Amwiler Road site.

It will come up again in two weeks for a second read during which the citizens may speak during the Public Comment period on this ordinance.

The council also considered a resolution requesting the city be granted redevelopment powers to be used for revitalization. Wheeler explained that the community can determine areas to be revitalized and provide incentives for redevelopment of the area.

In other news, Julian Jackson said he and other Gwinnett County City Managers would be meeting with Gwinnett County officials later this week to discuss the 2014 SPLOST referendum which will come up for vote in November.

Read also:

Mayor Announces New Developer Stepping to Purchase Roberts Property

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Brian March 06, 2013 at 02:08 PM
Glad to hear they tabled the amendment.
Ali Stinson March 06, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Judy, your summary of the second read issue from the meeting last night is incomplete. Most of the objectors agreed that a one read on planning related issues was ok. It is waiving the second read on all other types of ordinances that generated the objections, the public comments by myself and Mim Harris, and the questions levied by Councilman Wright to the city lawyer and rest of the council. The entire debate centered on whether the ordinance could be amended to allow one read on any items that had already gone through the planning commission process and two reads on all other issues. The story above leads folks to believe that those objecting will delay business efforts to improve property. That is not the goal at all. I applaud Mr. Wright for more carefully examining this and preventing the council from rubber stamping something that has much broader implications. I am happy that the Mayor expressed the same sentiment after the discussion generated by Mr. Wright and agreed to table the ordinance for further work by the council. This is democracy at work and many of us are very happy that our council and mayor were willing to listen and take more time on this issue.
Sharron March 06, 2013 at 03:56 PM
Excuse me, but where is the revised Garbage Pick up Program that was the other "agenda" item for us to become a city?
Judy Putnam March 06, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Thank you for your comment Ali, I've added a paragraph at the beginning of my article which should hopefully clarify the issue.
Judy Putnam March 06, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Sharron: I understand Gwinnett County currently has a contract in place for solid waste pick up which includes Peachtree Corners. The contract was written prior to PC becoming a city. I'm not sure of the time frame on when the contract will end, however, I'm sure if you call City Hall they will be able to provide more details.

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