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Norcross plans to annex Carmax

NORCROSS — City leaders voted to proceed with plans to annex Carmax on Beaver Ruin Road, pending approval of a sign requirement by the city’s Architectural Review Board.

Carmax requested the annexation in January, citing the car dealership’s desire to erect a 130-foot-tall sign to improve visibility from Interstate 85 as one of the reasons for the request. Gwinnett County had advised the business that a 130-foot-tall sign, 300 square feet in size, is not approved under Gwinnett’s unified plan.

Chris McCrary, Norcross’ community development director, stated during Monday’s city council meeting that county leaders bent the rules for sign height and size in other areas in the county, such as Mall of Georgia and the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

The annexation was approved by city council vote, pending the Review Board’s approval of the Carmax sign requirements.

City property demolitions approved

Three city-owned properties were put on the block for demolition Monday. The first, located at 54 Jones St., was the old public works building. While the building itself was not a historic structure, it is located in the city’s historic district. Connie Weathers, representing Sustainable Norcross, asked the council to allow the organization to go into the building and reclaim and recycle any suitable materials.

According to city manager Rudolph Smith, city staff members have already begun removing doors, bricks, windows and any other items identified by Weathers as usable by the Norcross Arts Alliance and Sustainable Norcross.

A demolition permit was issued for 54 Jones St. Asbestos abatement must take place before the entire structure is demolished.

The two structures at 183 N. Cemetery Street/183 Bostic Street and 111 Cemetery Street were also cleared for demolition, but the city’s built-in protections for historic structures apply to these two properties. Anyone can come forward within a minimum of 180 days to suggest other appropriate, reasonable uses for the two structures. Councilman David MCLeroy added that a buyer can also move the structures if desired.

Should demolition take place, Sustainable Norcross and the Arts Alliance will also be allowed to reclaim/reuse any materials in the buildings identified as recyclable.

Weathers said that Sustainable Norcross, by reusing materials in these and other structures to be demolished, can earn points toward receiving the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Gold Level Certification for Green Communities.