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Snellville City Council meets for first time in its new city center building

SNELLVILLE - The Monday night meeting of Snellville's mayor and council convened in the city's impressive new city center.

The city's new seal is prominently displayed behind the council seats. There is a new audio-visual system, and each council member's seat is equipped with a sleek notebook computer.

"I didn't think this was going to happen. It really is a dream come true," said Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer. Former council member and current state Rep. Melvin Everson presented Oberholtzer and mayor pro tem Mike Smith with U.S. flags sent from the state capitol.

"This is a magnificent structure that all our citizens can be proud of," said Everson. But I remind each of you, do not forget the history of this great city."

Rezoning request denied

A .904-acre parcel of land at 2496 Lenora Church Road will remain residential property, following a lengthy public hearing and council vote. Property owner Willis Bennett petitioned the council to rezone the property to office professional and planned to relocate his insurance office to the existing home on the property.

Jessica Roth, the city's planning and development director, said that her department and the planning commission recommended denial, as Bennett's plans were not in compliance with the city's 2012 Comprehensive Plan in which the area is designated residential.

Bennett's representative argued that such a use for that property is neighborhood-friendly and much safer and more stable than renting the home to a temporary resident.

Opponents to the rezoning request argued that allowing the rezoning would set a dangerous precedent along Lenora Church Road. Several homeowners had contacted council members with their concerns prior to Monday night's meeting.

By a unanimous vote, Bennett's request was denied and answered by applause from many attending the meeting.

Rezoning along East Main Street approved

Property owner Colleen Walcott petitioned the council to rezone .531 acres located at 2098 E. Main Street from residential to office professional. The planning and development department recommended approval. Wolcott's property is one of only a few along that stretch of road that is still zoned residential; most others are already zoned office professional. The council voted unanimously to approve the request.

Fee schedule approved

A new fee schedule for renting the community room in the new city center was approved unanimously Monday night. Those wishing to rent the space for various functions can call City Hall for the fees, and the fee schedule will be posted on the city Web site in a few days.