Minor league stadium given good review by ARC

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Atlanta Regional Commission deemed Gwinnett's planned minor-league baseball stadium as "in the best interest of the region and, therefore, of the state."

The results of a Development of Regional Impact review were released Thursday, and project manager Preston Williams said he hopes to get a land disturbance permit as soon as next week. Officials have a tight construction schedule to complete the 10,000-seat stadium for the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves to begin playing in April 2009.

"It looks like we are going to be good to go," Williams, the manager of the Gwinnett Center, said of the results. "We should be off and running.

Williams said he had not reviewed the report as of the close of business Thursday, but he said he did not expect any issues with the review.

In the report, regional planners said they do not recommend the proposed widening of Buford Drive from Old Peachtree Road to Interstate 85 in front of the stadium. Instead, the report says traffic control measures such as temporary signage, law enforcement and temporary signal timing are more feasible, since the traffic associated with the development isn't "typical daily traffic."

According to the report, the stadium and planned retail and restaurant development will create 10,331 trips during a 24-hour period.

"Based on the traffic analysis ... the transportation system is capable of accommodating the new trips generated by the proposed development," the report stated

The report also recommends less driveways along Ga. Highway 20 to direct traffic mostly to a planned median break on the arterial.

Other suggestions including mitigating the urban heat island effect and stormwater concerns for the parking lot.

The full report may be reviewed at www.atlantaregional.com.