Lawrenceville denies cerebral palsy home

LAWRENCEVILLE - Mayor Rex Millsaps and City Councilman Mike Crow were sworn in to their second two-year terms Monday during Lawrenceville's first City Council meeting of 2009.

City Clerk Bob Baroni administered the oath of office to Millsaps, who then swore in Crow and new Councilwoman Marie Beiser.

A retired educator, Beiser won election to her first council term in November. Beiser served Gwinnett County Public Schools for 32 years as a teacher and counselor at Central Gwinnett, Parkview and Brookwood high schools. Since her retirement, she has been active with the Lawrenceville Development Authority and Downtown Development Authority.

Beiser replaces Councilwoman Judy Jordan Johnson, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor. Johnson served three terms on the council continuing a family legacy. Her father Rhodes Jordan was an eight-term Lawrenceville mayor. Both her grandfather and great-grandfather served on the city council.

Crow was appointed mayor pro tem for 2009.

After making routine appointments, the council proceeded to deny a special-use permit to allow United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia to continue to operate a home for developmentally disabled adults in the Forest Hills subdivision on the basis the facility was incompatible with the neighborhood. The action followed a public hearing at the council's December meeting where subdivision residents expressed opposition.

In other actions, the council approved permits for a special event facility in a restored warehouse at 550 N. Clayton St. and a Just Brakes at 566 W. Pike St.

Norcross-based Hogan Construction Group was awarded a contract by the council in the amount of $374,208 to rehabilitate the home of late Lawrenceville Mayor Jule Oakes at 235 Crogan St. to serve as a welcome center for the city. Oakes served as mayor in 1949 and 1950.

Millsaps noted that work on the home will be paid for by 2005 SPLOST funds and a $50,000 donation from Oakes' daughter, Babye Oakes Baggett.

Paul Radford, deputy director of the Georgia Municipal Association, presented an award to State Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, during the meeting. The award, a framed 1912 photo of Crogan Street in Lawrenceville, honored Balfour as a "Champion of Georgia Cities."