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Lawrenceville wants to fix airport position in 2030 plan

LAWRENCEVILLE — The Lawrenceville City Council wants to make its position opposing the expansion of Gwinnett County’s Briscoe Field to allow commercial flights in the city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan clear.

City Attorney Kenny Stroud reported at Monday’s meeting that a request to amend the plan has been presented on behalf of the council to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Atlanta Regional Commission.

The 2030 Comprehensive Plan that had been previously adopted by the council included the master plan for the airport and supported its expansion.

“That taken alone could be misconstrued that Lawrenceville is in favor of expanding the airport for commercial aviation,” according to Stroud.

To clarify the city’s position, the council wants to add a statement to the plan that it does not support commercial aviation at Briscoe Field, Stroud said.

The council, which has been criticized for opposing the airport expansion in view of the plan’s wording, asked the city’s legal firm to file the request.

“Just because everyone’s been raising so much cain, we’re just going to put it to bed,” Councilman Mike Crow said. “We want to overkill it.”

The ARC will have to approve the additional language, Stroud said.

In August, the council passed a resolution opposing the county’s plans to privatize and expand the airport to allow commercial flights. Three companies have demonstrated interest in taking over the general aviation airport.

Part of the airport property, including about half of the 6,000-foot runway, is located in Lawrenceville.

At its September meeting, the council approved changes to the city’s zoning ordinance that require aviation businesses locating in the city’s portion of the airport and a new transportation overly district to obtain special-use permits.

During Monday’s meeting, the council approved an amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance that removes the airport’s exemption from the city’s architectural standards.

The council voted to enter into an agreement with Bleakly Advisory Group in the amount of $20,000 to prepare documents creating tax allocation districts along Northdale Road, identified as the Georgia Gwinnett College Corridor, and the Ga. Highway 120 Corridor from downtown Lawrenceville to Gwinnett Medical Center. The city is also asking the consulting firm to develop an opportunity zone along the Ga. Highway 120 Corridor.

Councilman Crow abstained from the discussion and vote because he owns property in both areas.

The council also adopted amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance requiring churches, synagogues, chapels and other religious facilities to obtain special-use permits to locate in residential districts.

The need to get special-use permits also applies to public and quasi-public buildings for cultural use, fire stations and government buildings locating in residential districts.

Councilman P.K. Martin presented a report on his participation in a trip to Chicago for city, county, business and education leaders from Gwinnett County.

The delegation learned about education, revitalization, transportation, economic development and tourism in the Midwest city. Of special interest, Martin said, was a visit to the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Ill., which shares many characteristics with Lawrenceville.

In other action, the council:

• Adopted an amendment to the city code changing planning commission meetings to the third Monday of the month instead of the second Monday starting in January.

• Amended the city’s disorderly conduct ordinance to allow Georgia Gwinnett College campus police to enforce it against dorm visitors if necessary.

• Awarded a contract in the amount of $218,088 to Contour Grading & Pipeline for a drainage project in Sherwood Forest.