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Peachtree Corners community votes for cityhood

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Judy Quigley and several other Peachtree Corners cityhood supporters cheer as the results are announced on Tuesday evening.
 Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Peachtree Corners cityhood supporters Wayne Knox, left, a resident in the area for 17 years, and Brandon Doty compare results with folks on the cell phone and iPad on Tuesday night at a gathering.
 Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Mike Mason, president of the Peachtree Corners "Yes" campaign, gets a congratulatory hug from his wife, Debbie, after the final numbers came in on Tuesday night. 

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Judy Quigley and several other Peachtree Corners cityhood supporters cheer as the results are announced on Tuesday evening. Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Peachtree Corners cityhood supporters Wayne Knox, left, a resident in the area for 17 years, and Brandon Doty compare results with folks on the cell phone and iPad on Tuesday night at a gathering. Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Mike Mason, president of the Peachtree Corners "Yes" campaign, gets a congratulatory hug from his wife, Debbie, after the final numbers came in on Tuesday night. 

NORCROSS -- Peachtree Corners is no longer just a development.

In just a few short months, it will officially become Gwinnett's 16th city.

Voters approved incorporation of the community of 38,000 in the county's northwest Gwinnett corner by a margin of 4,348 to 3,272, according to unofficial results late Tuesday.

"The people have spoken," said Mike Mason, who has lead the campaign as the president of the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association. "Now, we have a voice. We can have a plan for the future."

After debating for years and watching new cities form at its edge, leaders proposed a limited municipal government to govern code enforcement, planning and zoning and solid waste.

While the scope of the new city is small, limited to only up to 1 mil in property taxes, a large "no" contingent formed, challenging the need for another level of bureaucracy in the prosperous community, designed 40 years ago as metro Atlanta's first live-work-play development.

None of the leaders of the Peachtree Corners Ballot Committee, who headed the anti-city campaign, returned phone calls Tuesday.

"The headwinds we faced from the distrust in government was amazing," Mason said, adding that the issue has been prevalent across the United States. "You just have to earn folks' trust."

Commissioner Lynette Howard, who lives in Peachtree Corners and represents the area on the Gwinnett commission, said cityhood will allow local residents to have more control of their own destiny.

"I just love the branding and the identity, and it's just going to strengthen," she said. "It's so exciting. It's not (just) a volunteer community anymore."

A City Council election will be held in March, and the city will become official on July 1.

In another referendum, a vote in a small unincorporated Norcross neighborhood to become part of the city passed by just one vote. Residents votes 83 to 82 in favor of joining the nearby city.