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Suwanee postpones decision on gas station, car wash

SUWANEE -- City Council members voted Tuesday to postpone a decision regarding a proposed QuikTrip gas station and separate car wash at 3359 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road in the Suwanee Gateway area.

Michael Sullivan, the attorney representing applicants for both ventures, asked Mayor Dave Williams and council members to hold off on taking a vote either granting or denying the rezoning and special-use permit, to give him time to go back and work with city staff and other stakeholders to reach an equitable plan.

Opponents to the proposed development at the corner of Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road and Satellite Boulevard cited Suwanee's 2030 Comprehensive Plan as a good reason to deny the requests. Robert Wheeler, a resident of the city, cited traffic congestion as a potential problem and added, "If you're serious about the Gateway, I suggest you deny this."

Tom McConnell, a Smithtown Road homeowner, stated that the rezoning for QuikTrip is not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, which cost Suwanee taxpayers about $100,000 to develop. The plan designates the 3.96 acre parcel for parks/recreation

/preservation, not for a gas station or commercial use.

Sullivan argued that the small parcel of land was designated for preservation use to accommodate the Eugene Wall family, who own the land. Planning to live out their lives on the land surrounded by commercial growth, the Walls recently moved to a senior community because of health issues. Sullivan maintained Tuesday that denying the owners the right to sell their land for a comparable use and price violates their property rights.

"Reserving a small, 4-acre tract in this area makes no sense," Sullivan said. "A land-use plan is a guide ... Land use is not chiseled in stone."

Other residents admonished council members to deny the rezoning and special-use requests instead of postponing a vote. Some said QuikTrip should have presented a plan and abided by the council's decision, rather than being given the chance month after month to revise the plan.

As of Tuesday's meeting, city staff members recommended denial of the rezoning and special-use permit requests, citing the plan as the primary reason. Suwanee Planning Director Josh Campbell did indicate that his department is willing to continue working with Sullivan in an attempt to reach a plan that will suit the city's vision for the Suwanee Gateway region.

Centenarian honored

Family members of Suwanee resident "Miss Minnie" Rogers were on hand Tuesday to receive a proclamation honoring their matriarch. Rogers, who retired from working for the city in 2005 at age 95, celebrated her 100th birthday Oct. 23. She worked for the city for 40 years.

Rogers is mother to 11 children and grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother to more than 200 descendants.

"She is a very, very special person," Williams said, declaring Oct. 27, 2010, "Miss Minnie Rogers Day."

Electronics recycling company granted permit

Bionew USA Corporation was granted a special-use permit Tuesday, allowing the firm to locate an electronics recycling facility at 3600 Swiftwater Park Drive. The company, which is relocating from its current location on Satellite Drive, is expanding and needs the 3.31 acre site for that reason.

According to the applicant's representative, all storage will be located indoors, and there are no hazardous materials involved.