Suwanee creates design standards for downtown district

SUWANEE - Suwanee's historical Old Town area is now protected by design standards that will guide future upgrades and development.

City Council members voted unanimously to create the Old Town Overlay District that allows slightly different zoning standards specific to the area.

The overlay district encompasses roughly the old downtown area from Main Street to U.S. Highway 23, which includes the public library and PlayTown Suwanee city park.

Most retail, financial and personal service businesses will be welcome in town, except fast-food restaurants, fortune tellers, psychics, massage parlors, junkyards or auto wrecking establishments.

Suwanee's master plan shows a development schedule that joins the library, City Hall and Town Center Park with the Old Town area via sidewalks and bike paths.

The overlay district mirrors the same walker-friendly lifestyle by encouraging establishments such as churches, bed and breakfast inns, dance studios, art galleries, restaurants, bars and taverns, dental and medical clinics, beauty shops, day care centers, ice cream shops, dry cleaners and hardware stores.

All shops must face the sidewalk and street. Multi-story buildings may be used as living quarters, as long as no one resides on the first floor. Any new development will be required to provide a sidewalk area, street trees and at least one bicycle rack capable of holding five bicycles. In this particular area, residential buffers have been reduced to zero feet.

Suwanee to hire two for

red-light camera enforcement

In November, Suwanee became the forth Gwinnett city to contract red-light camera enforcement, which will ticket drivers who run red lights.

In Tuesday's council meeting, city officials agreed to spend $39,275 to hire one police technician and one part-time court clerk to assist with duties and enforcement related to those cameras.

That amount will pay the two salaries through June, the cost of setting up a workspace and for office supplies. Suwanee expects to earn $98,000 from February to June in red-light fines, which balances the $98,000 the city is spending in set-up and operating costs.

Retail shopping

center approved

The empty lot between Mitsubishi Electric and Moe's Southwest Grill will soon fill with construction.

City Council members unanimously approved rezoning 2.6 acres from light industry to special commercial district - alcohol sales. The move allows Brickton Commercial Partners to construct a retail shopping center that houses a restaurant serving alcoholic beverages.

No auto sales, service or rental establishments will be permitted to set up shop in the retail center. Suwanee's Planning Department recommended approval of the project and no one spoke against it.