Lilburn council denies request to build townhomes on Burns Road

LILBURN - The residents of the Burns Road area showed up in force at the Lilburn City Council meeting Monday to show their opposition to a proposed annexation and rezoning.

The council denied the request by developers Burns Road Partners to allow 47 single-family town homes on the less than 7-acre parcel. The relatively new residential infill district allows a higher density for smaller land lots that meet a certain set of criteria. Although the Burns Road parcel met the size requirements of being less than 10 acres, the council determined that this development did not meet one other primary requirement - it must be on a major or minor arterial or connector.

"The requirements are that it must be located along a major or minor arterial," said Kevin McOmber, the Lilburn city planner.

The City Planning Commission also recommended denial for the same reasons. The council received loud applause when it unanimously voted to deny the request.

Council disagrees over permit

Although there was also a unanimous vote and little difference of opinion over a request for a special-use permit during the regular meeting, the work session prior to the meeting told a different story.

The request was by Buggy One Inc. to allow an automotive repair facility at an existing used car sales lot on U.S. Highway 29. The dealership has been operating an auto repair shop there for many years, but now wants to sublease the repair portion to another company.

"I understand that the automotive repair has been going on for many years," council member Diana Preston said in the work session. "But the truth of the matter is, this should not have happened. The majority of this property is zoned C-1 which does not allow auto repair."

The property actually contains three different zonings,

C-1, C-2 and R-100. Automotive repair is only permitted on C-2 zoned property. Of the close to 2-acre Buggy One development, only .5 acres are zoned C-2, and the majority of the building housing the auto repair is in the C-1 portion of the property.

"We can't grant an SUP for an auto repair shop in C-1 zoned property," Mayor Jack Bolton said. "We have a problem there."

Lilburn City Planning Commission also recommended approval of the special-use permit, however the three different zoning levels of the property were only discovered after the planning commission meeting.

"I have been towing cars there for years and I know this individual well," said council member Ken Swaim. "He will continue to own this property and make sure it is maintained properly.

Swaim also questioned Preston's involvement in the vote.

"I don't think it is right (Preston) that you live in the neighborhood behind this development and you are opposing this. I think you have too much personal interest in this."

Despite the pre-meeting disagreement, the Lilburn council unanimously approved the special-use permit. However, to allow the special-use under Lilburn zoning ordinances, the property will have to be rezoned to C-2.