BOC to wait for results on impact of Asian Village

LAWRENCEVILLE - An attempt to get portions of a proposed Epcot-like development in southwest Gwinnett denied fell flat, but an attorney representing the project said the pause will not affect the development's plan.

The Asian Village Atlanta will begin construction on its main feature, a Chinese garden, this fall.

Attorney Michael Sullivan said developers had asked county commissioners to deny without prejudice a request to rezone more than 23 acres of the project for townhomes and villas and a change that would let more than seven acres be used as commercial space after they decided to rethink that portion of the project.

But the size of the 84-acre development qualified it as a Development of Regional Impact, a designation by the Atlanta Regional Commission that requires a months-long review.

Once that process has begun, a government cannot move forward to approve or deny a project, ARC Principal Planner Haley Fleming said.

"They cannot take action until the DRI process is complete," she said.

That led county commissioners on Tuesday to table the project indefinitely while they wait for the review to finish.

Sullivan said the holdup is purely procedural, and that it does not affect the Asian Village's ability to move forward with plans that will transform the land at Governors Lake Parkway and Jones Mill Road near the DeKalb County line into a cultural exchange area.

Plans, which are still being finalized, could include a request for a mixed-use redevelopment. Whether the requested residential components will be included in the final design has yet to be determined.

Sullivan said instead of having the residential request denied, the developers will administratively withdraw it from consideration, something that requires no action on the county's part.

"It doesn't really change anything, it's just a different way to skin the cat," he said.

Estate-lot designation passed

County commissioners passed a new zoning designation to allow larger lots as a step between residential-agriculture districts that allow 200-foot lot widths and single-family residential lots that are 100 feet wide at the highest.

The R-LL will require lots to be 125 feet wide.

Before the change was passed Tuesday, County Commissioner Mike Beaudreau said it would ease the transition between rural and urban areas. He had been working on the estate-lot designation for more than six months.