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Peachtree Corners exploring whether to incorporate city

NORCROSS -- In a debate that resurfaces every few years, Peachtree Corners residents are once again investigating incorporating the area as a city.

Legislators and leaders are considering a "city light" type of government, where only about a half-mill in property taxes would be charged and elected officials would govern planning and zoning issues, code enforcement and trash service, said Mike Mason, chairman of the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association.

About five years after area residents voted against the creation of a city, Mason said the idea resurfaced last year, when Norcross officials proposed an annexation of Technology Park, which was the first phase of the planned live-work-play community built north of Norcross and west of Berkeley Lake.

"All we really want to do is control our borders," Mason said, pointing to the boundaries that abut the two Gwinnett cities along with the recently created north Fulton cities of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. "We'd like to control quality of life issues."

For services such as police and fire, Mason said residents do not have qualms with the job Gwinnett County government does, which is a big difference in the debate when Dunwoody and Sandy Springs were formed, he noted.

While committees have been formed to explore the possibility, Mason said he understands the reluctance of many residents hurting in the current recession to consider anything that would raise tax bills.

He estimates the limited services would only cost people about $20 per $100,000 of appraised tax value. Even that, though, could be tough in the current economy.

"We'll continue to examine it. When the timing is right and the math works, we'll do it," he said, noting that discussions over Dunwoody's cityhood took place for 35 years before the charter was developed.