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.
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.
Mayor Announces New Developer Stepping to Purchase Roberts Property
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