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Stadium development proposal could see changes; residents worry about standards

Due to the economic plunge in recent years, the development surrounding Gwinnett Stadium in Lawrenceville came to a halt. Next week, planning commissioners will hear proposals to alter the mixed-use development.

Due to the economic plunge in recent years, the development surrounding Gwinnett Stadium in Lawrenceville came to a halt. Next week, planning commissioners will hear proposals to alter the mixed-use development.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Years after nearby neighborhoods bought into Gwinnett's field of dreams, residents are banding together to fight a change to the development around the county baseball stadium.

Next week, planning commissioners will hear two proposals to alter a mixed-use proposal stalled by the economy.

While apartments have always been part of the mix, a recent building permit application and proposal to add more units have people from neighboring homes worried they won't get the quality development promised when the stadium was built.

"We've been pleasantly surprised at how the Gwinnett Braves stadium has turned out. They are great neighbors," resident Cindy Schwarzer said at a community meeting Wednesday. "What goes around it needs to be similarly nice."

Paula Hastings, a local activist who was on the Planning Commission when the original mixed-use proposal was approved, said she is afraid the 50 acres surrounding the stadium on Ga. Highway 20 between Old Peachtree and Rock Springs roads could become "apartment city."

Mitch Peevy, who represents one of the property owners, said his client was left with a hardship when developer Brand Morgan did not renew a contract to buy his property.

Originally, regional and local planning leaders agreed to a plan of restaurants, offices, shops, townhouses and lofts on a total of 50 acres. But now a 19-acre property is left without direct access to the stadium. There, Peevy said, the best option is for some commercial space and more than 200 apartments.

At the same time, Morgan, who sold land to the county for the stadium, is seeking to increase the building height allowed on his remaining 30 acres to four stories. The request for a change in conditions, Hastings said, may have been a gift that allows officials to tighten restrictions, since Morgan has applied for a building permit for 200 apartment units on the other side of the property.

Messages left for Morgan's attorney were not returned.

With another complex already in existence behind the stadium, community members said they were worried the plethora of apartments could bring down housing values in the once affluent "Golden Triangle" even more.

"I was totally sold on this," Sheryl Bean said of the original mixed-use proposal, which conjured up images of Suwanee Town Center and Buford Village. "Our stadium, at the very beginning, I wasn't happy about it. ... But it has not been a bad thing. The better draw we can have, the better off our community will be."

Hastings is organizing an email campaign, and she is recruiting community members to show up at a Planning Commission hearing Wednesday and Board of Commissioners session March 27.

She is worried that she and her colleagues failed to protect her neighbors when the original zoning was approved, and she wants the developers held to the standards they presented when they pitched the complex to the community.

"(The stadium) is a crown jewel of our county. It's one of the biggest assets we have," she said. "Let's make (the development) hold to the standard (that) it was sold to us."

Comments

Dubbin 2 years, 8 months ago

Ms Hastings lives close to the stadium and is very worried that some apartments will ruin the area. But Ms Hastings is one of chief cheerleaders for expanding the Gwinnett airport to commercial service that will blight all of Lawrenceville, Dacula and Duluth.

-Isn't it funny how she doesn't want a few apartments near HER home but is only too happy to put an airport next to YOUR home?

-The stadium was a bad idea but the airport is a much worse idea. Put some pressure on Ms Hastings to back off on the airport should you speak with her - please!

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jjbod1 2 years, 8 months ago

Welcome to Gwinnett County!!! Where its all nothing but a field of lies!

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BuzzG 2 years, 8 months ago

"Years after nearby neighborhoods bought into Gwinnett's field of dreams,"

Camie, how quickly you forget. Nearby neighborhoods did not buy into the the field of dreams. Neither they nor any one else was allowed to vote on it, remember? We had the stadium shoved up our *&^^ by tyrannical politicians in league with the liberal press. Then they handed us the tax bill and forced us to pay for it, remember? Politicians in Gwinnett have a long history of doing as they damn please and handing us the bill. It would appear from this article that trend is going to continue. It is time for the Tea Party to come to Gwinnett.

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notblind 2 years, 8 months ago

Land speculators suffering "... a hardship..." is not my problem. You win some gambles and you lose some gambles.

Whenever the politicians and developers present a proposal to the taxpayer they ALWAYS assume the best case scenario is what will transpire. Guess what? It never happens. Then in a few years when reality sets in they come back and want to change the proposal in ways that the taxpayers would never have agreed to in the beginning.

The airport will be the same scenario. The 'pie in the sky' initial projections will make everybody happy and proud but as the years pass the taxpayers will become aware that they were shafted again and the only happy people are the big corps raking in the public money.

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Dubbin 2 years, 8 months ago

Correct on all counts. But in a county that elected Bannister twice and Kenerly four times do you really expect anything to change?

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citized 2 years, 8 months ago

Who didn't see this comming?????

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Linda 2 years, 8 months ago

We don't need anymore apartment complexes. Period

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R 2 years, 8 months ago

Be VERY Careful residents around the stadium, Mr. Peevy’s (aka Millcreek Engineering) involvement in the majority of cases over the past 2 years has been to significantly LOWER construction standards and zoning regulations on behalf of his “clients”. If these concepts are really as great as proposed and owners are in such hardship, why aren’t the actual OWNERS showing up to press their case instead of paying for representation?

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iluvapartmens 2 years, 8 months ago

Not sure where you got the idea that the OWNERS are in a hardship and if you had took the time to look around the room at your little meeting you would have noticed that the OWNERS and their WHOLE family was present.

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R 2 years, 8 months ago

So if they're not in dire straights - deny, deny, and deny yet again!!

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R 2 years, 8 months ago

"-Isn't it funny how she doesn't want a few apartments near HER home but is only too happy to put an airport next to YOUR home?"

Ms. Hastings just isn't informed about the area around her home, maybe she could contact Citizens for a Better Gwinnett...

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dentaldawg83 2 years, 8 months ago

you put that many people in apartments near Old Peachtree and Hwy 20 and Hwy 20 will become a daily nightmare!..anyone remember when 12 Stone gave some turkeys away and almost completely shut down Hwy 20? Image this daily!

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JV 2 years, 8 months ago

The home values of all property east of GA20/Buford Dr. and between Rock Springs and Old Peachtree have plummeted. There are many many foreclosures and the situation is getting worst. With or without the stadium or any development around it, that area is in dire straights.

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SuxBeanU 2 years, 8 months ago

The absolute last thing the Bannister Memorial Stadium area needs is more apartments. I don't care how well connected these "developers" happen to be, or that they may lose money on their investment, the fact is, the area cannot support more traffic. Just look at the area around Gwinnett Place Mall and that's what the Bannister Memorial Stadium area will become. Does the BOC have the spine to stand up to those that provide them with money to buy elections? I doubt it. Maybe it's time for the people that actually live in Gwinnett County to put up there own candidates and get rid the the opportunists that are inhabiting the board right now. Let's put it this way, if the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce supports a candidate, then it is our duty NOT to vote that candidate into office!

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iluvapartmens 2 years, 8 months ago

If you don't like whats going in there, why don't you get the number off the sign, buy the property and put what you want there. I thought this was America where your property was your property and you can do with it what you want. If this don't go through The Pink Pony is gonna buy it so the players will have a nice place go and unwind after the game. Maybe Miss Hastings can get a job there so she will stay out of peoples business.

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R 2 years, 8 months ago

The current owners got what they wanted when it was initially zoned.. They got the bite at the apple. As to doing anything you want with your property, you can within reason but the county residents don't have a requirement to make you PROFITABLE in the process…

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iluvapartmens 2 years, 8 months ago

And another thing....If this doesn't go thru you might as well say goodbye to the fireworks because they will not be allowed to set over the 19 acres right up to the property line. They can shoot them over Ms Hastings house.

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R 2 years, 8 months ago

So this deal HAS to go through? Kill the fireworks then and keep the zoning as is - enjoy the land... because we NEED more open space anyway

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gwinnettismyhome 2 years, 8 months ago

iluvapartmens -- This is America but you cannot do what you want to with your property -- there have always been zoning laws in place. You cannot build whatever you want to on your property simply because you want to. Your neighbors have an interest in what you do because, like it or not, it affects them too. The zoning laws were put in place to allow communities to have a say so in how the development of their areas would unfold. It is apparent that you either are related to or have a friendship with the property owners who want to rezone and sell their property. What they want to do is finish making their money and move on leaving the rest of us behind to deal with the aftermath.

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gwinnettismyhome 2 years, 8 months ago

I have a problem with this whole request for rezoning. When the Commissioners of Gwinnett declared, without community input, that they were building a stadium (with taxpayers money) they promised it would be a benefit to the community because of the surrounding complex. There were pictures of a beautiful shopping area with hotels and offices. We (the citizens who live around this area) were told it was going to be fantastic. There would be jobs and tax revenue. So we relaxed. Coolray has been a good neighbor and there have not been any issues, and we understood that the further development was delayed because of the economy. BUT -- the developer cannot now be permitted to totally change what was originally planned. Where are the jobs and tax revenue from the apartments? There will not be increases in sales tax revenues and any increase to property taxes collected will be minimal. Further, when the economy improves there will not be the room to finish the original vision because apartments will have been built instead. This area is already overcrowded and I think traffic will become a NIGHTMARE.

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bresponsible4yourself 2 years, 8 months ago

Iluvapartments: Obviously you stand to benefit from the sale of this property. Over the years, if greed hadn't taken over, this property would have been sold many times at a nice profit. Please refrain from bashing individuals that dont share the same view as you do. Class is not one of your strong points.

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HEBPED 2 years, 8 months ago

YOU PEOPLE WANTED IT, A BASEBALL STADIUM, NOW YOU WILL GET SECTION EIGHT HOUSING. AREN'T YOU HAPPY?. YOU DESERVE EVERYTHING YOU GET......

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Mack711 2 years, 8 months ago

We did not want that stadium . It was built and we were told to pay for it. The citizens never got to vote on it. Thanks Charlie!!! Oh yeah maybe Kevin gets a thanks as well!

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jack 2 years, 8 months ago

And a tip of the Braves cap to Bert Nasuti, the mastermind behind the whole endeavor!

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NewsReader 2 years, 8 months ago

Let me see if I can sum this up correctly for everyone. This entire scenario is what I commonly refer to as a chocolate covered turd. It looks good on the outside. It smells good on the outside. But it isn't until you take a big bite out of it that you realize that what is delivered on the inside isn't what was advertised on the outside. These clowns promoted this nonsense on the overreaching premise that they could actually deliver the undeliverable. Now that the game is no longer to their advantage, they want to change the rules of the game so as to benefit themselves at the expense of all of us. No Thanks! And if the BOC actually agree to waive the developmental requirements as set forth in the original agreement, then they should be shown the exit door in the next election.

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iluvapartmens 2 years, 8 months ago

Looks like I have struck a nerve. My job is done. :-)

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