Baseball project gets OK
Mixed-use development to be built near stadium

LAWRENCEVILLE - Commissioners gave the go-ahead to begin planning a mixed-use development surrounding the new Gwinnett Braves stadium.

The proposal from Brand Morgan, who sold 12 acres on Buford Drive to the county for the stadium, includes 610 residential units, a 300-room hotel, 351,000 square feet of commercial space and 617,000 square feet of offices on 73.5 acres between Rock Springs Road and Old Peachtree Road.

"The concept all along was for the stadium to be a focal point in a mixed-use development," said Commissioner Bert Nasuti, who lead the effort to bring a minor league baseball team to Gwinnett. "There's a lot to be done on the details of the development."

In accordance with the county's mixed-use overlay regulations, the plans must go before the Atlanta Regional Commission and Georgia Regional Transportation Authority for evaluation before going through a public review process.

Commissioner Kevin Kenerly, who represents the area, said he wants to see high standards in place similar to the nearby Mall of Georgia. Just two weeks ago, when approving a $19 million increase to the stadium's budget, Kenerly said high standards are essential to the entire project.

"It's in the middle of a residential community," he said. "I'm hoping what they decide to do there will bring residents to shop, to live and to work, instead of just go to a game."

He said he had not seen the plans yet but expected a high-quality development.

"They are going to have to live by the standards I foresee out there," he said.

Nasuti said the development would allow the area to have economic development year-round, instead of simply during 72 home games a year.

Commissioners turn down Sugar Hill, Fairburn requests

Also Tuesday, commissioners turned down two public safety requests, including the use of sheriff's deputies to patrol the city of Sugar Hill.

Chairman Charles Bannister said he is in discussions with city officials to return to having the county police patrol the community, but he did not want to see deputies stepping outside of their duties.

"It's better for the police to be police," he said.

A request from the county's fire chief to donate three older ambulances to the city of Fairburn was also denied.

According to information on the commissioners' agenda, the Fairburn Fire Department does not have a medical unit for transporting patients, instead responding with Advanced Life Support engines. The city department requested help, "due to a changing environment with private ambulance funding by Fulton County.

The county declares surplus ambulances after years of use that have been used for more than 100,000 miles, Chief Steve Rolader said. In the past nine transactions, those ambulances have been sold for an average of $5,500.

"I don't really favor giving away taxpayer assets for nothing," Commissioner Mike Beaudreau said. "That's $15,000 we can apply to something else."