Sugar Hill approves future land-use plan

SUGAR HILL - Residents and business owners no longer have to worry about an industrial establishment opening near the new town green or a truck repair shop going next to a single-family home. City councilmen Monday approved a future land-use plan that guides Sugar Hill's zoning and development.

The previous land-use plan, drawn up in 1998, showed each lot with its own zoning, rather than large zoned areas. In some places, lots zoned for heavy manufacturing stood next to residential neighborhoods. A lot in the new downtown area, where planners intend to grow a walking neighborhood full of restaurants and shops, was zoned for industrial uses.

"It (the old map) did not identify Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, (Ga.) Highway 20 or downtown as commercial," said City Manager Bob Hail. "Looking at the new map, you'll see zoning is now in large swaths."

Peachtree Industrial Boulevard is now designated Sugar Hill's commercial corridor with office/industrial, general business and highway service business planned for its future. Ga. 20 shows both residential and commercial applications, because both already exist there, and the downtown area along Broad Street and Alton Tucker Boulevard reflect the mixed-use future toward which planners are working. From the city's commercial/mixed-use/high-density residential center, zoning changes to medium-density residential, then to low-density residential farther out with a smattering of industrial zonings around the city's existing fringes.

Sugar Hill's lengthy City Council meeting agendas are heavy on rezonings. Councilman Tom Rhodes said in an earlier interview that he believed a new land-use map would shorten meeting time by reducing the need for so many rezonings. Hail sees the new map more as an outline for developers and a security measure for residents.

"It will give developers a better idea of where their project fits in with the city's future and how we want it to grow," Hail said. "The demographics of the city have changed completely since 1998. Citizens can be secure, too, that the mayor and council are working to protect their interests. They'll know we won't put a junkyard in their backyard or a truck farm next to their house."

Police officers' salaries raised

As Sugar Hill grows, the need for police presence multiplies. City councilmen voted to raise the city's part-time police salaries to $35 per hour, formerly $25 per hour, and to $50 per hour for traffic direction. Sugar Hill employs off-duty police officers from other departments because the city has no police force of its own.

Funds approved for code enforcement officer

Councilmen voted to allocate an additional $64,000 in the 2006 budget to hire a second code enforcement officer.

Sugar Hill's consistent growth - 200 percent since 1990 - has overloaded Officer Donna McDaniel, and she wants some help. City officials agreed to hire a second officer right away, which will cost the city $15,000 in salary, benefits and equipment for the remainder of 2005.