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Man takes issue with Dacula child care center

DACULA - Gwinnett resident Billy Clack has some issues he would like resolved regarding the Great Beginnings child care center on Harbins Road in Dacula.

According to Clack, owner Lloyd deLatour has deviated from the approved plans for the center, adding a gym and a pool and installing lights that shine onto Clack's property and inside his house.

"There's nothing to protect me so I can enjoy my home," said Clack, who also complains of noise from the child care center. "I'm just saying 'be a good neighbor.'"

Clack also accused deLatour of encroaching 15 feet into the required undisturbed buffer. The city confirmed that deLatour has encroached 4 feet into the buffer, and deLatour has since rectified the situation.

DeLatour addressed Clack's complaints at Thursday night's City Council meeting. According to the business owner, whose 8-acre property was annexed into the city in October 2004 and zoned for the child care facility, the project revisions that have taken place were all approved by the council and city administrator Jim Osborn on two separate occasions. An October 2005 public hearing was held for some changes, of which Clack claimed he was never notified.

The changes, which include extending the gym/classroom building length by 25 feet, increasing the square footage from 7,000 to 13,500 and allowed the installation of a 30-foot-long pool were not substantial enough to be heard by the mayor and council before approval.

"We permit pools all day long, for subdivisions and day care centers. I didn't think that Mr. deLatour should have to wait a couple of months to be able to make this change," Osborn said.

The bulk of the increase results from adding height to the gymnasium. According to Osborn, deLatour could have increased the building height to 40 feet instead of the 33 feet he is planning.

Regarding Clack's complaint concerning lights shining onto his property and into his bedroom window, Georgia Power may be the culprit. Dacula's lighting ordinance specifies "shoebox-type lighting," for deLatour's purposes (security and child safety). Georgia Power installed "cobra-head" lights. Both lighting designs shine downward, but cobra-head lights illuminate more of a peripheral area than the shoebox lights. deLatour agreed to go back to Georgia Power in an attempt to reach a solution.

With regard to the noise problem Clack alleges, deLatour said he would plant additional Leyland Cypress shrubs if Clack would help with the expense.

Councilman Tim Montgomery agreed that Georgia Power may be at fault in installing improper lighting at the street but added, "I'm a firm believer in property rights. That 50-foot buffer is a legal requirement. As long as (deLatour) stays out of that buffer, he's in his rights to use his property as he sees fit."

"You just can't fight city hall," said Clack.

City council approves additional $30,000 for McMillan Road project

Council members voted Thursday night to approve $30,000 to locate utilities along McMillan Road, in preparation for the upcoming widening project. Gary's Grading and Pipeline, the company the city has hired to locate the utilities, will dig with both machinery and by hand along and under the road to pinpoint the location of both water and gas lines.

"We don't know exactly where these water lines are," said Osborn, who said this phase of the project is a proactive step which will keep the cost of the project down in the long run. The additional necessary expense of about $5,000 was approved for a survey crew to assist with utility location.