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Sugar Hill approves variance to build wedding, reception venue

SUGAR HILL — The Sugar Hill City Council at its monthly meeting Monday night paved the way for a new event center in the southern part of its city.

By unanimous vote, the council allowed Ashton Gardens, a wedding and reception venue with locations in Houston and Dallas, a variance to construct its 22,000-square-foot chapel and hall largely of stucco exterior. With conditions, the council abridged its written allowance of 25 percent stucco on buildings of Ashton Gardens’ size. The city agreed the facility’s use of stucco was fundamentally richer than architecturally inferior strip centers its policies guard against.

Ashton Gardens President Brad Schreiber told the council that the venue, once built on nine acres of heavily wooded land on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard just north of West Price Road, will host an estimated 50,000 visitors annually and employ 50-plus people.

Schreiber said Ashton Gardens considered land in nearby cities, but didn’t find their governments as receptive as Gwinnett County’s third largest. It sought the variance to make its Sugar Hill facility like its other European-influenced locations, complete with stone columns, roof balusters, covered port cochere and trellis work.

“Once we found the land and learned about the community, it was a lock,” Schreiber said.

The council required horizontal and vertical grout-like lines be inserted into the stucco exterior to make it appear constructed of large stone work, in keeping with the Old World theme of Ashton Gardens facilities. It also required the buildings’ proposed location some 400 feet from roads and that they be shielded by landscaping from either, making them visible to only intended visitors.

Schreiber said Ashton Gardens plans to begin construction of the roughly $7 million facility in June or July and open about 10 months later.