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Lawrenceville puts moratorium on certain outbuildings

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Lawrenceville Council on Monday placed a 90-day moratorium on the construction of accessory buildings in residential districts.

Councilman Mike Crow, who proposed the moratorium, asked the city's planning department to look into requiring homeowners to obtain building permits for the structures, usually constructed behind or beside houses.

Currently, accessory buildings in Lawrenceville are not regulated as to size, placement except for required setbacks, construction materials or methods, Crow said. And there is no inspection process unless they have utilities, he said.

"We need to stem the tide of undesirable buildings in our city," Crow said. "Sometimes they create a nuisance or a distraction from our environment."

Crow's motion levying the moratorium was unanimously passed by the council. Regulating and requiring permits for accessory buildings would go before the Lawrenceville Planning Commission for a recommendation before coming back to the council for action. The process is expected to take about 90 days after which the council would lift the moratorium.

The council referred proposed amendments to the city's zoning ordinance defining and regulating business vehicles, RVs and watercraft in residential areas back to the planning commission for refinement.

Additionally, the council requested the planning commission develop an appropriate special-use designation for rezoning a house at 555 Hurricane Shoals Road that would allow the Quinn House to relocate its group home for men from downtown Lawrenceville into it. City Attorney Tony Powell has volunteered to assist the planning commission with the task and attempt to reach a compromise with opponents of the rezoning.

The next meeting of the planning commission is scheduled for Monday. The council plans to take a final vote on the Quinn House rezoning at a 3 p.m. June 18 special meeting it has called to adopt a fiscal year 2009 city budget and tax millage rate.

After a lengthy discussion, the council called another special meeting for 3 p.m. June 11 to further discuss schematic plans for a new city police building to be constructed at Jackson Street and Scenic Highway at an estimated cost of $8 to $9 million.

Councilman P.K. Martin requested a revised cost figure and alternate design from Precision Planning that reduces the police building's footprint and adds a third story for future expansion. Councilman Bob Clark asked for more time to study the plans and ask questions.

Although Councilman Crow and Councilwoman Judy Johnson as well as Mayor Rex Millsaps initially opposed delaying a vote on proceeding to the next design phase for the building, Johnson later moved to table action until June 11. All four council members voted in favor of her motion. The police building would be the only item on the agenda.

State Rep. John Heard, R-Lawrenceville, presented a $40,000 check from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to assist with funding the city's lunchtime downtown trolley service and renovating the Oakes Home into a welcome center for the city.