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Norcross deals blow to preservation efforts

NORCROSS - City council members voted to delete a historic preservation ordinance that would in effect create a historic district in Norcross. On Dec. 3 of last year, city council members voted to deny the establishment of district boundaries. Following that action, the ordinance was deleted from the city code of ordinances Monday night.

According to Anne Webb, president of the Norcross Historic Preservation Commission, "the Commission is now deconstituted."

Earlier in Monday night's council meeting, councilman Charlie Riehm suggested tabling any action on the ordinance for 60 days. "I had the opportunity to talk with residents and with Historic Preservation Commission members. There are many people in favor of this (ordinance)," Riehm said. The councilman also suggested that historic districts be created on a voluntary basis, as just two contiguous properties can constitute a district.

Riehm went on to list other actions the Historic Preservation Commission members could take in the community, such as educating residents and applying for Federal grants. "Without a historic district, we really don't have anything we can protect," Webb explained.

Councilman Keith Shewbert said, "I'm kind of middle of the road on this, but the clear majority of people are uncomfortable with (creating boundaries). However, I do believe there is a need for historic preservation in the city." Shewbert suggested appointing a member of the Historic Preservation Commission to sit, in an advisory capacity, in meetings such as Planning and Zoning in order to comment and educate. No action was taken on that suggestion Monday night.

New guard sworn in, old guard honored

Municipal court Judge Richard Winegarden administered the oath of office to new Norcross mayor Bucky Johnson, new councilman Craig Newton and returning councilman Charlie Riehm Monday night.

Winegarden also read city proclamations to both former mayor Lillian Webb and former councilman Terry Bowie, whose seat Newton won in the November election. Webb's proclamation referenced her 36-service to both Norcross and Gwinnett County, as well as her paving the way for a generation of women to enter politics. The city also presented the former mayor with a plaque and gavel marking her dedication to Norcross.

The proclamation recognizing Bowie hailed his dedication to fiscal responsibility and his proven willingness to perform civic duties.

DDA appointment hotly contended

City council members vigorously debated a proposed appointment to the Norcross DDA Monday night. Shewbert nominated resident Laura Laszlo, a CPA, to the board. The move was defeated by lack of a majority vote. Newton then moved to appoint Walvid Wynn, a contractor whose name was only made known to other council members Monday night.

DDA member Skip Nau addressed Newton, saying that his appointment was not appropriate, as the DDA had specifically requested someone with an accounting background be appointed.

Following a heated discussion about the appropriateness of nominating someone whom the DDA had not previously met, the council made the decision to wait 30 days to make the appointment once Wynn's resume can be reviewed by DDA board members.