BOC tables vote on rezoning near stadium

LAWRENCEVILLE - Concerned homeowner Joe Primm made the perfect pitch to the Board of Commissioners Tuesday night concerning a proposed commercial rezoning for 10 acres of land located across from the new Gwinnett Braves Stadium.

He only asked that his District 4 commissioner be present for the vote.

And with Commissioners Kevin Kenerly and Shirley Lasseter absent from the proceedings, Primm made that pitch a strike as the board tabled the vote until its Feb. 3 meeting.

"What I'm respectfully asking for is that we table this tonight so that we can have Mr. Kenerly present for that vote on the two zoning changes," Primm said. "We would like to see his opinion on this and we haven't heard anything in return from him and we'd like to see him present during the vote."

The two zoning changes Primm was referring to called for a 115,000-square-foot commercial center to be built on what is now office and institutional property (O-I) adjacent to the Habersham Hills subdivision, and a special-use permit to go along with it so that a four-story hotel could be constructed on the same site.

At the Jan 20, meeting of the planning commission, the applicant - RBS Development - requested that its special-use permit for the hotel be denied without prejudice because it didn't seem to go over well with homeowners of Habersham Hills. Primm worried that denying the special-use permit now would only mean that it could resurface again six months from now.

Commissioner Mike Beaudreau met Primm half way. He tabled the vote on the commercial center and denied without prejudice the special-use permit that would allow for the hotel.

In other business, with much opposition present in the form of nearby homeowners and with much support present in the form of its church members, the board denied a request for a cemetery to be built on the grounds of the Saints Constantine and Helen Romanian Orthodox Church located on the 600 block of Dickens Road. The unanimous board denial follows a similar denial made by the board in 2003 and a unanimous denial made by the planning commission Jan 20.

District 2 Commissioner Bert Nasuti said the decision was strictly a land use one and said it had nothing to do with religion.

"It's always about land use," Nasuti said. "We don't come here to make decisions based on religion. We respect all religions."