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Norcross council tables decision on house demolition

NORCROSS - City Council members voted Monday to delay making a decision on whether to demolish a historic house at 35 Williams St.

The old house, known to locals as the "cook's cottage," sits on a long, narrow piece of property with trees thought to be at least 50 years old.

Miller Lowry, the applicant requesting demolition, represented property owner Ed Schmanski during Monday night's public hearing. Lowry presented photos of a house similar to what he would build at the location. With regard to the existing house, Lowry said it may be less than 50 years old and "appears to have very little historic architecture."

Several residents voiced opposition to the demolition during the hearing.

Chuck Cimarik, a member of the now defunct Norcross Historic Preservation Commission, said that the house is considerably older than 50 years and urged council members to proceed with care.

Pierre Levy, another ex-commission member, provided photos and anecdotal data that suggested the house dates back to the 1890s.

"It has a lot of historic value and is unique, like many structures here in Norcross," Levy said.

Others objected to demolishing the house without a firm plan as to what would be built in its place. JoAnn Barnes suggested the structure Lowry proposed would be a "McMansion," out of character with the surrounding area and too large for the 8,133-square-foot property.

Councilman Charlie Riehm moved to table the decision until the April meeting of the council. The vote was unanimous in favor of Riehm's suggestion.

Last month, the council voted to rescind its historic preservation ordinance. That action marked the second time the city has passed, then dismantled, such an ordinance.

Officers sworn in

Mayor Bucky Johnson swore in two officers to the Norcross police force Monday night.

Officer Douglas Barrett is new to police work, having graduated from the police academy just last month.

Officer Jerold Lundgren Sr. is a 29-year veteran who retired from the Gwinnett County police force last August.

Police chief Dallas Stidd welcomed both officers to the city saying, "We go through about 60 officers to get to one. It's a nerve-wracking process for these guys."