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BOC splits on senior facilities
One denied, one tabled

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday denied the Meadow Church Road senior assisted living facility while at the same time tabling the other case for a similar facility on Spalding Drive in Peachtree Corners.

And it was grand political theater to witness.

But the tabling of the Peachtree Corners facility, which partially belongs to District 1 Planning Commissioner Mark Gary, didn't come easy.

Matter of fact, it almost didn't come at all.

With Commissioner Bert Nasuti absent and with Commissioner Kevin Kenerly abstaining from the vote because of a potential conflict of interest, Chairman Charles Bannister and the two remaining commissioners - Mike Beaudreau and Shirley Lasseter - couldn't agree on how to proceed.

That's largely because of the concerns expressed by a homeowner who'd be affected by the rezonings, Skip Hudgins.

He wondered aloud why a church needed to be bulldozed and why last minute changes submitted by Gary's attorney were even being considered after so much time had been put into those conditions by the Board's own planning commission.

"I don't think we want to see in Peachtree Corners or anywhere in Gwinnett County pictures of churches being bulldozed," Hudgins said. "I assure you that in a county that is one of the largest in this state there are other 9-acre lots available to build an assisted living facility."

"The planning commission has met with us and met with the Garys at length and has put in strict conditions that many of us feel are not strict enough," Hudgins said. "And now we hear for the first time tonight that let's get a variance for those conditions."

Largely at issue was reducing the buffer between the proposed development and the homes behind it from 50 feet to 25. That would largely destroy the old, tall trees that currently make up that buffer, Hudgins said.

Lasseter and Beaudreau bickered back and forth about when to table the case until, and in the end Beaudreau won and the case was tabled until Sept. 15.