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Sugar Hill changes zoning of 15 acres for subdivision

SUGAR HILL - A 41-home neighborhood will rise on Benefield Road, in place of a proposed commercial/residential development that never got off the ground.

Plans show 2,400-square-foot houses on 10,000-square-foot lots at a density of 2.68 homes per acre on a total of 15.28 acres. The three-sides-brick and/or stone houses with side or rear-entry garages will be priced in the $350,000s.

The acreage was originally part of a much larger proposed development. Fred Skiba and Georgia 20 Ventures proposed a 65-acre center with retail shopping along Ga. Highway 20 and residential homes behind it. The project involved annexing 23.5 acres from Gwinnett County. City Council members approved the project with planned residential development/general business zoning, resulting in some lots holding a split zoning of commercial on one side and residential on the other.

Skiba purchased five lots, but the proposed development went no further. That left some lots zoned for planned residential development, which is specific to the project that didn't materialize. Some of those property tax bills tripled, too, when they were rezoned to general business.

City councilmen voted unanimously to reduce the property's zoning from PRD to residential.

Subdivision OK'd,

will protect a stream

Work can resume on a proposed 10-acre subdivision at 5630 Sycamore Road, after being halted for nearly three years.

A formerly subterranean stream was uncovered by a construction worker during grading. Sugar Hill officials had revoked the development permit issued to Mill Creek Investments Associates LLC because the contractor graded beyond the established boundary. By then, the trickling stream was brought to light.

City councilmen determined the stream to be a state water, which meant the development had to be reworked to accommodate it. Sugar Hill's city code defines a stream as a state water if it flows across property lines.

City Councilmen voted unanimously to approve a variance that allows construction of 23 homes at a density of 2.3 homes per acre in the aptly-named Stone Water Subdivision. The homes, priced in the $230,000s, will present brick, stone or stucco fronts with concrete fiber siding on three sides. Four nearby residents showed up to discuss their buffer preferences, but no one voiced any actual opposition to the project.

Internet auto sales

business approved

A .267-acre lot at 5255 Nelson Brogdon Blvd. was rezoned from residential to general business to allow for an Internet auto sales office. The one-story, 3,000-square-foot building has housed a commercial business for more than 20 years. The owners of AMS Automotive agreed to display no banners or signs, nor will they store unsold vehicles on the site. Sugar Hill's future land-use plan shows the area a mixed commercial/office/residential. Councilman Nick Thompson abstained from the vote.