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Legislation to Create County's 16th City Introduced to House of Representatives

Peachtree Corners bid for cityhood is making its way through the Georgia Legislation.

House Bill 396, legislation to incorporate Peachtree Corners as a city is now in the House of Representatives. The charter, introduced by Rep. Tom Rice (R-Norcross), would make the west Gwinnett community the county's 16th city.

If passed, voters of the community would have the chance this fall to vote on a referendum for cityhood. The bill must pass through the House of Representatives, then to the Senate and finally to the governor's desk.

Rice, who lives in Peachtree Corners, authored the charter which calls for a city-lite leval of government which means the new city would have jurisdiction over planning and zoning, code enforcement and trash collection. Other services including law enforcement would be handled by the county.

"I think we have a lot of support, at least in the House," said Rice. "I would hope the Bill would move along within the next week and a half."

If that's the case, it may be in the Senate's hands by the end of this week.

This is an historic moment for the leaders of the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association (UPCCA), the group's leaders have been instrumental in getting the legislation written and introduced.

Hearing that the Bill had passed through the 22-member Gwinnett Delegation and on to the House was a proud moment for UPCCA president Mike Mason.

"I feel confident that this will go through," said Mason after hearing the news. The long hours of work, the many meetings to get this far are now past, but Mason recognizes it's now a new beginning.

"Now we have a deadline," he said. "We've got a lot of work ahead of us to let everyone know."

The charter spells out that the new city would be run by a mayor with a $9,000 annual salary and six council members who each would be paid $6,000 per year.

The Bill also includes an appendix which stipulates the boundaries of the new city which extends past what most consider the Peachtree Corners boundary of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. The new city's boundaries would reach south to where the counties of Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett intersect, the Chattahoochee River on the west and north to where the City of Berkeley Lake and City of Duluth's municipal boundary lines.

And the city's boundaries would reach as far east as Buford Highway to where it intersects with the current boundaries of the City of Norcross.

It's caught a few people by surprise acknowledged Mason. "It's all part of the Peachtree Overlay," Mason explained. "People have asked me, 'How did you set your borders? Do mean the other side of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard will be Peachtree Corners too.'" It's all part of a means to protect property values he said.

A study shows that the city-lite model of government could be supported with property taxes of 1 mil per household ($120 on a $300,000 home).

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