SUGAR HILL - Sugar Hill added 89 acres to its city limits and potentially 216 new homes at Monday's council meeting.
One of those developments, a 111-home community at Ga. Highway 20 and Old Cumming Road, will only materialize if both the Georgia and Gwinnett County Departments of Transportation give their approval for a proposed road alignment at that intersection.
The once-rural area has become heavy with traffic and the intersection, where drivers must look back over their shoulder to enter, is too dangerous to support approximately 200 more cars. Summerall Development Company proposes realigning the intersection to a 90 degree turn. Both DOTs will do a traffic study of the intersection before a building permit will be issued.
Sugar Hill's Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the project that shows 111 single-family homes on 36 acres with community swimming pool, cabana, tennis courts and a multi-use field. The property was formerly zoned residential in Gwinnett County and was rezoned to planned residential district in Sugar Hill. Some residents of the adjoining Emerald Lake subdivision disliked the smaller lot sizes proposed for the new development, named Old Cumming Station.
"In Emerald Lake, we have at least one-half acre per house," said Monica Hennesey, a 12-year resident. "This development is not in keeping with the area."
Councilmen voted 4-0 to annex the property. Councilman Nick Thompson excused himself from the hearing and vote because, as a real estate agent, he represents several of the properties in the acreage.
An additional 53 acres on Suwanee Dam Road were annexed and rezoned from residential classification in Gwinnett County to planned residential district in Sugar Hill. Bowen Family Homes plans to build 105 single-family homes, priced in the mid-$200,000s, at a density of 2.6 homes per acre. A 10-foot-wide natural buffer will separate the community from adjoining properties, including a tree preservation plan that must gain the approval of Sugar Hill's Planning and Development officials. Councilmen voted 5-0 to approve the annexation, and agreed to allow members of the adjoining Twin Lakes subdivision to choose and skirt which trees they want to preserve.
Sugar Hill Councilmen voted unanimously to adopt the stream buffer protection ordinance set forth by the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, which directs plans to conserve north Georgia's water, and manage stormwater and wastewater. The ordinance increases the current 25-foot stream buffer to 75 feet.
"(Sugar Hill) has to do it to get water quality grants from the state," said Lee Thompson, the city attorney.
The Bowen development, which has a stream running through it, was grandfathered in.