'Human side' delays zoning
Hotels, office center near new stadium site approved

LAWRENCEVILLE - Before Hulon Minor died late last year, he started a process to rezone the land he had lived on for more than five decades.

His first attempt, to put attached senior residences on 5.62 acres on Ingram Road, failed. But County Commissioner Bert Nasuti said he told Minor, whose wife, Rebecca, has an elementary school named after her, that if he offered neighbors a detached residential option, he might find success.

"There's a human side to this," Nasuti said. "I feel compelled to put something here that works."

Nasuti and other county commissioners tabled a request Tuesday that would put 17 homes on the land as they worked out details of the development, which neighbors said they wanted to mirror their homes on Glenwhite Drive, High Forest Drive, Royal Drive and Racquet Court.

Adela Parra, who lives on High Forest Drive, described a neighborhood where neighbors see wildlife in their front yards and enjoy the shade of old-growth trees. She and other residents requested that the new project have large front yards, with houses set back 80 feet from the street, and homes that had driveways on Ingram Road.

"There is a friendly, inviting sense that the community is welcoming you," Parra said. "We want to preserve that."

Neighbor Eric Schieb told commissioners that while there is a housing glut in the market, people are improving the houses that they own in the Ingram Road area.

Doug Stacks, who represented developer Hemlock Holdings, said he expected homes to sell in the $275,000 range. They would be 1,800 square feet for single-story homes and 2,100 square feet for two-story homes, if the development is approved as a medium-density residential project, like planning commissioners suggested.

"We're just trying to work something out here," Stacks said.

Nasuti tabled the decision until Feb. 19, saying he wanted a chance to further improve conditions on the property.

County commissioners also voted Tuesday to approve two hotels on Financial Center Way, on the other side of Interstate 85 from where Gwinnett will be building a new baseball stadium for the Braves' AAA team.

Panorama Hospitality will be putting a Holiday Inn and a Hilton Garden Inn on nearly nine acres. The project will also include a 20,000-square-foot conference center, 15,000 square feet of office space and two restaurants.