Suwanee OKs mixed-use development

SUWANEE - City Council members this week approved the rezoning of nearly 150 acres of land on the southwest side of Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road and north Burnette Road.

The planned mixed-use rezoning of the land, known locally as the Motorola tract of land and the old Falcon training complex, will be home to a hotel, office buildings, retail stores and multi-family and single-family housing. There will also be a plaza in the retail section of the development as well as a central park.

"We have worked on this for about a year," said the applicant's representative, attorney Mike Tennant. "This has been one heck of a ride."

The location and scope of the development have brought more than the usual level of scrutiny to the rezoning and planned use of the land. The area near southwest Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road and north Burnette Road is considered a gateway to the city.

According to City Planner Josh Campbell, the area rezoned is considered a character area on Suwanee's Land Use Plan Map, and the mixed-use project proposed by OPUS South Corporation is a suitable use for it. The city Planning Department recommended approval of the rezonings, with conditions related to the development. Council members voted unanimously to approve the rezonings, as well.

In other business:

•Joan Sammond and the Georgia Humane Society asked for a special-use permit to house a pet adoption center in an area currently zoned for commercial use. The approximately 2,500-square-foot space, in a complex located north of Namasco Drive on Buford Highway will accommodate up to 15 dogs and 30 cats. The space will also house administrative offices for the Georgia Humane Society.

The special-use permit was granted Tuesday night.

•Jimmy Burnette was appointed Suwanee's 2007 mayor pro tem Tuesday night. Burnette follows councilwoman Jeanne Rispin, who served in the same capacity in 2006.

•Amie Sakmar was presented with the Suwanee STAR award Tuesday night. Sakmar was instrumental in clinching the city's open space bond refinancing last year and securing City Hall bond financing. She was also recognized by the state of Georgia for Suwanee's budget presentation, which was completed 3 years ahead of time, according to city manager Hardin Watkins.

•By unanimous vote, council members gave Mayor Nick Masino the go-ahead to enter into an agreement not to exceed $95,000 with Urban Collage for comprehensive planning services.

"Everything goes back to planning. This is money well spent, and it results in things like our Town Center. We spent $65,000 on planning services back in '98 and '99 with great results," said Masino.