By Mike Mason, Mayor of Peachtree Corners
An article recently appeared in the Patch that included some misinformation about the property located across from the Forum. This article has, unfortunately, perpetuated discussion based on that erroneous information.
First, let me assure you that we all share a desire to see quality development across from the Forum and we also share a complete lack of interest in seeing another apartment complex developed there.
While we have made, and continue to make, concerted efforts to prevent that from happening, we’re dealing with some significant constraints that were handed down to us.
Let me give you the facts:
- This property was zoned for apartments as part of a legal settlement between Roberts Properties and Gwinnett County. The US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia issued a consent order on Oct. 22, 2001 mandating that the property be rezoned RM-13, specifically for apartments.
- The County Commission had denied Roberts request for rezoning; but after the court ruling, the County not only had to rezone the property for apartments, but had to pay Mr. Roberts $390,000 to cover his legal fees.
- As a result of this ruling, the City has no legal basis to change that zoning decision or in any way deny the owner their property rights. As much as we might want to, the City Council cannot overturn a court decision.
- However, the City can try to mitigate some of the impacts of this development.
For example, the original property was one large parcel zoned for approximately 297 apartments. At this time, the property is planned for development as 3 parcels, 2 of which are now designated as commercial. Those commercial developments will reduce the overall number of apartments that may be built on the remaining parcel which is still zoned for apartments.
We have held, and will continue to hold, many meetings with the proposed purchaser in an effort to persuade them to develop a project more acceptable to our community. We are also seeking parties who might be interested in partnering with the proposed purchaser to change the nature of the development. These efforts will continue until there is no time left to us.
The article in the Patch states that the apartment plans will have to be reviewed by the Planning Commission and will ultimately need the City Council’s approval to proceed. This is just not true.
If the plans meet the building and zoning code requirements, the city will be obligated to issue a development permit. We don’t have the ability to reject a permit application if all the codes have been met.
You can be assured that we will do everything that we can, legally, concerning this property. But also understand that we are just as disappointed that there are limitations to what we can legally do.
Editor's note: The Mayor of Peachtree Corners spoke out publically at a recent City Council meeting saying that the story that appears in The story was based in information provided by what the Patch editor considers to be very reliable sources and stands by the story published based on those sources. As stated in the Patch story, because the property falls inside the Overlay District established in 2007, the City of Peachtree Corners does have some control over the development. The development must adhere to the signage, architecture and landscaping controls of the Peachtree Corners Overlay District. A copy of the Overlay District is available on the Gwinnett County website.
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