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Homeowners upset over rezoning
500-unit apartment complex cleared to move in next to subdivision

SUWANEE - The Board of Directors of the MorningView Home Owners Association would like some answers from their District 1 Commissioner Shirley Lasseter. Up until now, they say they haven't received any.

Specifically, the group would like to know the reason a January rezoning request was approved by the Board of Commissioners 4-1 after it was denied last year and also after it was recommended for denial by the county's planning department this year. The only commissioner to vote against the proposal was District 3's Mike Beaudreau.

The case reappeared after a Gwinnett Superior Court ordered it to be reconsidered. The now-approved rezoning will allow for a 500-unit apartment complex to be built less than one mile from MorningView on 29 acres at the 900-1200 blocks of Satellite Boulevard.

According to the homeowners association, the rezoning is against the county's 2020 land-use plan which recommends office/distribution/technology for the subject property. The group said in a letter dated Jan. 31 to the Board of Commissioners that the planning department recommended denial of the project because it failed seven of the 11 criteria the department used to evaluate it.

"It's inconsistent with the land-use plan," the letter reads. "Gwinnett taxpayers invested a substantial amount of resources into developing the land-use plan. What sense does it make investing in a plan if the recommendations are just going to be ignored?"

The homeowners association also goes on to call into question the notification signs posted in response to the rezoning request. They claim the signs were not visible from the road and that most residents in the 1,000-plus home subdivision were unaware of the public meeting until the day it arrived.

"This zoning request slipped by us," the letter states. "We thought the issue was dead when the county board voted it down last year."

According to Jeff West of the county's planning department, the rezoning notice sign was posted Dec. 30 along Satellite Boulevard announcing the two scheduled public hearings Jan. 20 and 27. He said the signs are required to be posted 15 days before a scheduled hearing.

Commissioner Lasseter said she hadn't met with the homeowners of MorningView yet but was planning to do so soon. She said she voted in favor of the rezoning because she agreed with the conditions placed on it by the planning commission, which unanimously approved the rezoning request despite the recommended denial by the planning department.

"I went with the conditions presented by the commission because I thought the buffers would give them some extra space," she said. "But I'm going to meet with them because I want to hear their concerns."