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Residents Disappointed Over Clear Cutting of Bush Road Acreage

The trees have been removed from the 10-acre site, officially named Peachtree Reserve. But nearby residents question why the land was clear cut.

The developer of the 16-home subdivision on Bush Road in Peachtree Corners recently cleared the land in preparation for building the new subdivision named Peachtree Reserve.

But the surrounding neighbors were surprised to see the 10-acre site cleared completely of trees. A number of residents, including Bob Martell a nearby homeowner, attended several UPCCA land use meetings in March 2012, with the developer and walked away from those meetings assured that the property would not be clear cut, or so they thought.

A resolution was drawn up and signed by Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners in May of this year spelling out just what the developer agreed to do.

Many who had attended the two land-use meetings had understood that a buffer of trees along Bush Road would remain. And that the land would remain wooded until each lot was sold.

But that was not part of the agreement, said Brian Lackey, Director of Planning & Zoning for Gwinnett County. "Buffers do not apply to property frontage," he explained.

And the item on the resolution that spells out that natural vegetation is to remain - only applies until a development permit was issued. Lackey said when the permit was issued, the developer could clear the entire site for development.

"I'm disappointed in Gwinnett's interpretation," said a disgruntled Martell, who owns a home directly across the street from the development. Martell's view has changed drastically in recent weeks, once he gazed across the road at a thick strand of trees, today he has a view of a construction port-a-potty, dump trucks and bulldozers.

"We knew it wouldn't last forever," said Martell, of his view. But Martell said he was counting on the resolution that he thought spelled out exactly what the surrounding homeowners would see developed on the property, including a buffer that would help blend the new development with the surrounding homes.

Although the development is located within the city limits of Peachtree Corners, Gwinnett County is overseeing the development as the project began prior to the city's incorporation. Lackey said the county is checking every day to make sure the work is being conducted according to the county's regulations.

A new developer took over the project during the summer after the original developer bowed out. The original plans included 19 homes, the new developer has reduced the number of homes to 16 and increased the price and square footage of the homes to be built.

There are also new site plans and landscape plans which have been approved. The new plan shows the retention pond, originally located on the far right side of the property, will now run along Bush Road. A copy of those plans are included with this story.

You may also be interested in reading:

New Developer Takes Over Bush Road Project

Bush Road Plans Get Go Ahead at UPCCA Meeting


Rico Figliolini November 28, 2012 at 03:05 PM
RT, I'm sure you don't have a monetary connection to the property and just airing your thoughts with regard to all these comments. A decade ago developers used to request rezoning of a property, clear cut it and then flip their investment to a larger developer - not caring what it looked like, how long it stayed that way, whether rain run-off would effect other property owners, etc. I'm not saying that's the case here. I know it's cheaper to clear cut a piece of land than it is to carefully develop it with existing trees. I'm sure they'll plant the 5 gallon six-foot trees in their place instead. Government is not always some evil thing out there. But, it is there to watch and stop those that want to take advantage of every minimal thing companies will do for profit. Being a conservative doesn't mean I don't like trees. I just like stupid. BTW Eminent Domain has it's place. It has been used to created schools, hospitals, libraries, parks and police stations. But, I agree it has been abused too. Democracy can be messy at times and down right awful, but it's a work in progress.
Bob Martell November 28, 2012 at 05:41 PM
RT, if you were at the meetings with the developer back in March, you would know that this isnt an issue of folks using government to tell people what they can do with their property, its a case of getting the government to enforce the agreements it made with the developer on resident's behalf. Dozens of your neighbors came to the meetings because they didnt share your myopic view that it only meant a little more traffic. The original plans called for nineteen 2400 sq foot homes to be built, to sell in the low to mid $300's, and a stormwater retention pond located in the southeast corner of the property...during the meetings with the developer it was agreed that there would be existing vegetation left along Bush Rd, there would be certain plantings to shroud the retention pond from view and that the property would not be clear cut. Concern was expressed that given the economy and recent history, we wished to avoid a situation where the builder goes bust before the project is complete, leaving a barren muddy landscape save for a bunch of blue pvc pipes sticking up out of the ground. The resulting agreements were in writing and approved by the county.
Bob Martell November 28, 2012 at 05:42 PM
The "new" plans call for sixteen 4800 sq foot homes to be built, the retention pond has been made larger and has been moved several hundred feet west of its original location, the existing vegetation along Bush Rd has been cleared as has much of the remainder of the property. Yet for some reason it was decided that these drastic changes to the original plan didnt need to be re-approved. Your neighbors only want the government to make the developer do what he said he would do, and that the govt agreed to before the first shovelful of dirt was moved. If you're worried about the govt telling you what to do with your property, you need look no further than all the codes and ordinances that the new City of Peachtree Corners has passed and or adopted lately. Emminent domain is the least of your worries.
Howard Haugland December 04, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Yet another punch in the gut from our illustrious County Commissioners, Planning and Zoning, and all the other Despots. Deceitful, crooked, what else is new in Gwinnett County ?
Richard T. December 05, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Bottom line is still that you want the government to tell people how to use their own land. That's what Bob's "agreements" entail. No Rico, I do not have any skin in the game, but at least I recognize the fact. With regard to eminent domain, no hospital or school is worth it if the property was taken from the owner at a government dictated price. No Bob, not myopic, but thanks for the personal attack and mild vitriol. I'm what some enlightened individuals would call a realist. Cheers!


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