NORCROSS - Several Norcross residents and a Sierra Club volunteer spoke up at Monday night's City Council meeting, anticipating a stream buffer variance request submitted by McCrary Engineering Inc.
The 2.96 acre tract of land located at 590 N. Norcross Tucker Road has a stream running through it, making the parcel a challenge to develop following the city's required 75-foot buffer.
McCrary Engineering presented plans to the mayor and council to build an office distribution warehouse facility, with a proposed use of storing paving equipment on the premises.
Curt Smith, a volunteer with the Sierra Club, urged the council to deny the variance
"We advocate the protection of water spaces. House Bill 510 was recently defeated 10-1, showing strong support for enforcing 75-foot stream buffers," Smith said. Smith said the ideal stream buffer is 300 feet.
According to Smith's data, increased land development (whether subdivisions, parking lots or offices and warehouses) leads to increased risk for property owners who are already situated near water. Increased development means increased runoff, which inevitably ends up in streams, creeks and rivers, he said.
"We need stream buffers to absorb all this water," said Smith, who went on to question the proposed use of the land. Paving equipment will increase the level of toxins in the water, as construction equipment leaks gasoline, oil and other toxic substances.
Norcross resident Susan Posey and her family all spoke up against granting the variance.
"I have lived here with my family for 19 years, and there are two streams that run through our property," Posey said. "At one time, there was orange water in the big creek for two whole days."
City resident and environmental engineer Jim Scarborough warned council members of setting a dangerous precedent by granting the stream buffer variance. Resident Chuck Cimarik agreed with Scarborough and urged the council to deny McCrary's request.
The request was denied unanimously by council members.
City employees recognized for exemplary service
Norcross police officer Jason Carter was recognized Monday night for his five years of service with the Norcross Police Department. Carter just completed two years of undercover work with the drug task force.
"Jason is a wonderful police officer, and we're glad to have him," said police chief Dallas Stidd.
Keith Shewbert was presented with a certificate for his dedicated service to the city's Community Improvement District.
Annual land use
plan review scheduled
Applications for land use plan changes are due in the Community Development Department by Wednesday.