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Suwanee holds final City Council meeting in old City Hall

SUWANEE - The City Council held its last meeting in the Suwanee City Hall building Tuesday night.

Beginning in September, they will meet in the Crossroads Center at 323 Buford Highway while the new City Hall building is constructed across the street in Town Center Park. Construction should take about two years.

The Crossroads Center served as City Hall and council chambers until 1997, when the current City Hall was built. Councilman Jimmy Burnette was serving on the council before the move. City Manager Hardin Watkins said 115 city council meetings were held in the now closed chambers.

As the council waits for its new multistory building to rise, it approved a rezoning and special-use permit for a 40-foot tall, three-story office building - 15 feet taller than normally allowed. The property was rezoned from commercial to a special alcoholic beverage sales classification.

The office/retail center will be built on 2.3 acres at the intersection of Satellite Boulevard and Burnette Road. The site is surrounded by property zoned for or being used as light industrial businesses. The zoning is consistent with Suwanee's 2020 Future Land Use Map, and Suwanee's Planning Commission recommended approval of the project.

A second 21.5-acre parcel on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard just south of McGinnis Ferry Road was also rezoned from commercial to allow for alcoholic beverage sales. Byron Arceneaux plans to construct an office building and retail center.

The acreage was rezoned in 1999 from light industrial to commercial to allow construction of a church. It is surrounded by an apartment complex, two single-family homes and Suwanee Station, a planned, mixed-use development. Suwanee's Planning Commission recommended approval of the project, and no one spoke against it.

In other business

•City Council members approved offering retirement benefits to any employees serving the city for at least 40 consecutive years. That distinction applies to Minnie Rogers, age 95. Rogers cleaned City Hall until this spring, when a cataract surgery forced her to retire. Mrs. Rogers will collect $75 per week in retirement benefits for the rest of her life.

•Suwanee received a $50,000 state Local Assistance Grant to help pay for construction of the planned pedestrian bridge linking Town Center Park to the Suwanee Creek Greenway.

•In a related move, City Council members accepted a donation of about 11 acres from Bowen Family Homes, pending the results of an environmental study. The acreage lies along Suwanee Creek and much of it contains floodplain area, according to Marty Allen, planning and development director.

•Three people were appointed to the URA. Alex Stone was reappointed as chairman for a two-year term. Jerry Little and former City Council member Carol Hassell were appointed to two- and one-year terms, respectively.